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This is a listing of members of House Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire.

For the main character index, see here

For the main Northern entry, see here

House Stark of Winterfell

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/c1fa8c9a307c030644913efba9f0803e.PNG

"Winter Is Coming"
Stark House Words
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The Great House ruling the North, the largest but most sparsely populated territory of the Seven Kingdoms, and the lands most vulnerable to Westeros's long winters, which last for years at a time. They are a grim house of iron will, holding to the old laws and customs of the First Men, being the only Great House that does so. They trace their ancestry from a legendary fellow named Bran the Builder, who helped raise the Wall as well as Winterfell itself, and almost every generation of Starks has had a "Brandon" amongst their ranks. The Starks ruled as the Kings of Winter until Aegon's Conquest, when Torrhen Stark saw wisdom (or perhaps the hopelessness of resistance) and bent the knee. For this he became known as "The King Who Knelt," but the North was one of the only kingdoms not to be ravaged by the war. Their sigil is a grey direwolf, (a large species of wolf that is no longer seen south of the Wall) on a white/silver field.

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Due to their prominence in the story, accounting to six POV characters and 162 chapters of 348 total in the series (up to A Dance With Dragons), House Stark are the most prominently featured noble house in the books and are the de-facto protagonists of A Song of Ice and Fire.

See here for the House Stark Ancestors

See here for the House Stark Household


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    Tropes related to House Stark 
  • 100% Adoration Rating: The Starks, Ned and Robb in particular, have this type of reputation in the North. Even most of the Riverlands make the decision to secede from the Iron Throne along with the North, with Robb leading them.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Ice, a five-foot-long greatsword made of Valyrian steel. It's one of the last houses to have one. It was melted down and turned into smaller swords after Eddard's death. Brienne's Oathkeeper is one of them. The current greatsword is a relatively young weapon (~400 years old), though the Starks of Winterfell always have had a legendary tradition of a sword by the name of Ice since the Age of Heroes, from which the current weapon was named.
  • Animal Motifs: Direwolves.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Winter is coming" is a reminder that despite all the terrible things happening in Westeros, the worst is yet to come.
    • "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" asserts that they are the only true rulers of The North and implies that Westeros itself is doomed without the Starks.
  • Badass Family: The current generation of Starks is descended from an extremely long line of hale and hardy Northern rulers, many of whom were not exactly shy about shedding blood to either become rulers or maintain it. (For more information on some of them, see the "Historical Starks" section below.) Not that we ever see them kicking ass together, but as individuals, they're all pretty badass and determined in their own ways. That's right, even the proper ladies Catelyn and Sansa.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: All the Stark's greatest desires come true pretty quickly, and they don't do them much good;
    • Bran gets to leave home and go on an adventure because Winterfell is sacked and he and Rickon are presumed dead.
    • Jon gets to join the Night's Watch. Which is unglamorous and hard.
    • Sansa gets to live at court and be betrothed to a prince. Living as a hostage, betrothed to a cruel boy she comes to despise.
    • Arya gets to run away from all her noble privilege. Fleeing for her life and Walking the Earth in the midst of a civil war, and subject to a world of danger, such as forced servitude.
    • Robb gets to be treated like a "man grown" when his father dies and he must take up his lordly duties.
    • Catelyn is a master of these. See her section below.
      Catelyn: I have said it, gods forgive me. I have said it and made it true.
  • Being Good Sucks: In Westeros, the decent way rarely is the efficient or happy way. Doing the right thing has its tolls.
  • Big Good:
    • Despite all the trouble they get into for their principles, the Starks are still well-loved and respected in the North.
    • Eddard's son, Robb, becomes this after he dies and Robb is proclaimed the King in the North.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: A notable aversion, as House Stark is one of the few great houses whose members unquestioningly love each other unconditionally (with the sole exception of Catelyn's resentment of Jon, which is to be expected given Westerosi views toward illegitimate children).
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Quite a few other characters have mentioned that "winter is coming", because unlike the typical Badass Boast, the Stark words are equally applicable to every House and every person in Westeros.
  • Break the Cutie: Basically their storyline, and a big part of the drama of the series. The Starks begin as a good, honorable, innocent and loving family before we find out how rare those are in this world (even among the nobility), and the first three books are all about their downfall. The family is scattered, their home is destroyed and eventually taken over by the people who betrayed them, the members who haven't been horrifically killed have been traumatized beyond belief and they are turning darker with every page. The fact that the only Starks that remain are children makes this all so much worse.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Subverted. The "Stark look" is typically gray eyes, dark hair, and a longer face. This look has been present for so long that all of Ned's generation had it but with Catelyn's additions to the gene pool, most of the current generation of Starks take on Tully features (auburn hair and blue eyes), except for Jon and Arya.
  • Color Motif: Their sigil's colors are white and gray, representing their clear morality and grim disposition.
  • Conflict Killer: The Lannisters were able to keep their animosities with each other in check thanks to their war with the Starks. The Lannister's issues with one another resurfaced and now their patriarch Tywin Lannister is dead, his son Tyrion Lannister — who killed Tywin — fled east and the remaining siblings' relations have soured, all because they have no common enemy to fight.
  • Cool Crown: The crown of the Kings of Winter, yielded by King Torrhen to Aegon the Conqueror and now missing. A new one had to be made for Robb.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Fate has not been kind to House Stark in the last four decades or so. Sticky fates were visited upon Rickard Stark, his children, and his grandchildren.
  • Cult of Personality: Within the North, House Stark is more than just a feudal overlord, they are seen as almost quasi-religious figures (as evidenced by phrases "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell") and many associate House Stark with prosperity, stability, justice and the good life, which is understandable given that the North has always been ruled by House Stark, the Boltons are even worse and that during Winter, House Stark opens and hosts Winterton, a small town outside the Castle with rations and supplies to protect people during the long winter, which further enshrined in the minds of the people, the importance of House Stark to the North. Likewise, a nickname for the North as a whole is "wolves" even if it is only House Stark that has that on its heraldry.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Ruled formerly as Kings In The North.
  • Divided We Fall: Seems to be headed this way.
    • Roose Bolton solidifies his rule over the North by having his son Ramsay marry an imposter posing as Arya.
    • Petyr Baelish plans to unite the Vale, the North and Riverlands by having Sansa marry Harry Hardyng, the second in line to the Arryn seat after the sickly Lord Robert Arryn.
    • Davos Seaworth is on a rescue mission to save Rickon and rally the Northern lords under Stannis Baratheon.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Robb and Sansa are presently the only Stark children to not explicitly have this ability.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
    Eddard: The winters are hard, but the Starks will endure. We always have.
  • The Exile: It's a little hard to stay home when it's been burned by an opposing army.
  • Family Theme Naming: There have been numerous members named Brandon Stark throughout the family's history and a bastard named Brandon Snow.
  • Flower Motifs: The blue rose of Winterfell represents the Starks.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Brandon and Lyanna's wolf-blooded wildness may put them in the foolish sibling category, while honorable Eddard fills the role of the responsible sibling. Benjen is somewhere in the middle.
    • A pretty straight example with Bran and Rickon, since Bran is a relatively enlightened seven-year-old thrust into a position of great responsibility, while Rickon is three-years-old and has a huge temper.
    • Robb Stark and Jon Snow. While both fully commit to lives of hard duty, are moral, and share honourable traits, Robb is under a great deal more pressure and more tightly bound to his status as a king than Jon as a man of the Night's Watch, who goes against tradition and oaths for the sake of doing what’s right. At the same time, both brothers break their vows (a vow of marriage for Robb and a vow of celibacy for Jon) by sleeping with women who are on the opposite side of the wars they're fighting. However, Jon breaks his vow partially out of necessity and though he has fallen in love with Ygritte, ultimately refuses to forsake his loyalty to the Night's Watch. Robb marries Jeyne Westerling, the girl he had sex with, to protect her honour. This costs him his needed allies, who proceed to quite literally stab him in the back. Jon and Robb are equally foolish in their final moments, however, as both of them make big plans to take out the bad guys while inadvertently offending the hell out of some dangerous people who are supposedly on their side.
    • Sansa and Arya switch around with this in the first book. Sansa and most adults see Arya as the Foolish Sibling to Sansa's Responsible Sibling, as Arya is more difficult to control. However, to the readers, Sansa comes across as the Foolish Siblings thanks to the Trident incident and stupidity trusting Joffrey and Cersei, while Arya is more savvy and insightful.
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: Starks often make promises and oaths, which they always fully intend to fulfill when making them, but almost never manage to do on account of life or other obligations standing in their way. Some get more regularly and increasingly broken over time than others; some are exploded in a single incident. Jon's Night's Watch oaths and Robb's vows unravel several times throughout the series. Arya has extraordinary issues with promising to train properly and poor Sansa would just like a situation stable enough to know what vows she can try to uphold. Catelyn holds some kind of record when it comes to private promises she makes to herself. And, Ned has, with one unknown promise to his sister, frequently compromised many other vows he holds dear.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: A running problem within the family. Their adherence to honor leads them to assume others will act as honorably as they do, which gets them killed more often than not.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The most beloved noble family in Westeros, but it's clear they didn't stay on top so long without some streak of ruthlessness. The Kings in the North are after all "hard men for a hard time".
  • Good Old Ways: They still keep to the traditions of the First Men: honor, bravery, belief in the old gods, and "the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword".
  • Grey Eyes: Although the current Stark generations (save for Jon and Arya) has mostly taken after Catelyn Tully, the traditional Stark appearance has grey eyes. Said grey eyes reflect their coat of arms (a grey direwolf), evoke the cold and grim lands they rule, and also the sullen and stern personality is often attributed to his components.
  • Grim Up North: By reputation.
    Eddard Stark: The North is hard and cold, and has no mercy.
  • The Hero Dies: Ned, Robb and Cat... the last one sort of.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: The Stark children are some of the most traditionally heroic characters, and they all obtain a direwolf pup at the start of the series. They become Bond Creatures with the ability to tell those who mean their masters harm.
  • Heroic Lineage: The Starks supposedly descend from Bran the Builder and, according to the wildlings, Bael the Bard.
  • History Repeats:
    • Robert's Rebellion and the War Of The Five Kings both begin because of a Stark's failed rescue attempt. Many of the individual characters also end up mirroring the arcs of the previous Stark generation.
    • Ned Stark to Rickard Stark: Unjustly executed by a mad, cruel king which triggers a country-wide civil war.
    • Robb Stark to Brandon Stark: The eldest Stark son, heir to the North and expected to be a great leader only to be brutally murdered as a young man while trying to avenge/save their father.
    • Jon Snow to Ned Stark: The quieter younger (or illegitimate) son who grew up in the shadow of their older brother, the Stark heir. Neither expect to become Lord of Winterfell and spent their later formative years away from home (Castle Black and the Vale respectively) after their family is separated, but end up in line for the succession due to their brother's tragic death. Both risk everything to rescue a beloved little sister.
    • Sansa Stark to Catelyn Tully: A proper lady used as a pawn in marriage alliances. Their initial betrothal fell apart due to war (Brandon's murder and Joffrey turning on the Starks) and they were quickly forced into second choice options (Ned and Tyrion/Harry Hardyng) while being subject to Littlefinger's unwelcome affections.
    • Arya Stark to Lyanna Stark: The rebellious Stark daughter with "wolf blood" who gets separated from her family during the war and whose favourite older brother (Jon and Ned respectively) move hell and high water to save. Has links with a Baratheon (Gendry and Robert) who mourns them deeply after they're dead or presumed so.
    • Bran Stark to Benjen Stark: The younger son, more removed from the politics and bloodshed of Westeros's fight for the throne. Ends up going North and uncovering the deeper mysteries and powers at work in Westeros.
  • Honor Before Reason: A Fatal Flaw for most members of the family, they are sticklers for holding to their honor and doing the moral thing even if it would be pragmatic and sensible to do something else. This is what directly gets Robb killed. Those who don't ascribe to honor so heedlessly have a tendency to survive longer.
  • Ideal Hero: Several members of this House fall into this category as they believe in honor and justice, allowing those ideals to guide their behavior.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Not the Starks themselves, but they seem to bring this out in others. Several characters are shown to have greatly desired to be a part of House Stark, only to turn extremely bitter when it never happened, namely Theon Greyjoy and Barbrey Dustin.
  • King Bob the Nth: Brandon is the most common Stark name. So common (and the bloodline is so ancient) that they gave up on numbering them long ago. According to various fan guesses, there were seventy or eighty numerable ruling Brandon Starks.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Though they often fall to prey to treachery and deceit easier than most, the Starks who live to fight another day learn well from their mistakes and are determined to never repeat them. Many will come to regret viewing the Stark children as merely being pawns in their game.
    • Ned Stark was perhaps the least notable of Rickard Stark's children, dubbed the Quiet Wolf. He grew up in the shadow of his older, bolder brother Brandon who was the one with the great destiny, but after his sister disappeared and his father and brother were executed by the Mad King, Ned became a Rebel Leader alongside Robert Baratheon and Jon Arryn. He was instrumental in achieving victories for the rebellion as both The Strategist and a Frontline General.
    • Though the readers know her as The Determinator in her own way, most of the characters see Catelyn as little more than a representative of both her Houses and an intermediary for her son. Her enemies will be suitably freaked out when they find out that she's been brought Back from the Dead, has become the insane leader of a group of self-righteous outlaws, and is hell-bent on killing everyone who had anything to do with her and her family's pain.
    • Friends and foe alike doubt Robb's abilities as The Leader of the Northern armies when he calls his banners and goes to war with the Lannisters. He quickly shows them how wrong they were when he proceeds to win battle after battle against Lannister forces in the spirit of his father, becoming known as The Young Wolf.
    • In the beginning, the main characters are split between either adoring Bran for being such a sweet little boy, or pitying him for losing his ability to walk and expect him to have a sad, short life as a result. Turns out, Bran is a powerful warg who can control his hulking manservant Hodor, as well as his large direwolf Summer. He's also a Greenseer, who can dream of the future and glimpse into the past through weirwood trees.
    • Sansa is valued primarily as a hostage, for her potential as a candidate for marital alliances (or sex for the less ambitious), or her high social standing. Otherwise, people simply see her as a naive, witless child who can be manipulated as a pawn, used and abused by others. Sansa catches on to this and uses it as a shield for the most part, all the while perfecting her Politeness Judo and Silk Hiding Steel traits; under the tutelage of Littlefinger, she is set to become one of the most cunning players of the game of thrones as well as one of the most powerful women in Westeros.
    • In the beginning of the series, Arya is the younger Stark daughter who doesn't quite fit into societal expectations of a lady as she'd rather be an Action Girl than a Proper Lady, doesn't display her older sister's ladylike talents and grace, and prefers the company of sword masters and smallfolk, rather than ladies like her mother and sister. Then she falls off everyone's radar altogether when she escapes King's Landing and encounters all sorts of people, places, and experiences. Despite being a ten-year-old girl with a highborn castle upbringing, Arya survives life on the run in war-torn Westeros. After a while, many believe her to be dead because there's no word of her since she's seemingly disappeared into a country ravaged by war. Unbeknownst to them, Arya not only survived the likes of Harrenhall but fought back, actually reached her mother and oldest brother in time to see them die, and is now hidden away across the Narrow Sea, where she is learning to become an assassin. She is becoming a truly frightening Professional Killer with a huge vendetta to fulfill.
    • Rickon and his unruly wolf, Shaggydog, are looked at as nuisances due to their difficult and sometimes nasty temperaments. Rickon is separated from his parents and most of his family at age three, loses his home when he, his brother Bran, and Winterfell are captured, and they're forced to go on the run. Then Rickon is left in the care of a wildling and now's he's hiding out on an island of cannibals. None of this is going to make either Rickon or Shaggydog any more well-adjusted than they are already.
    • Ned's illegitimate son, Jon, began the story as a Wide-Eyed Idealist wanting to join the Night's Watch for the sake of honour and duty and to follow his dream of becoming a ranger in the Watch like his Cool Uncle. As the highborn bastard son of a lord who joins the Watch, he is totally off society's radar and is regarded as an outsider even in the Watch itself due to being a castle-bred illegitimate son with a young lord's upbringing. Jon navigates the series with the morality instilled by his father and strives to do the right thing while his scope is being vastly opened up by his experiences in the series and by the variety of people and cultures he encounters. During his time in the Night's Watch, Jon goes from oath-sworn realm defender to risking his life in his role as spy for the Night's Watch and then is elected Lord Commander of the entire Night's Watch at age 16, working to save everyone from the oncoming army of the dead in which he becomes one of the main defenders in the war against the Zombie Apocalypse. Stannis Baratheon recognizes Jon's potential political value as a son of Eddard Stark and tries to win himself a Stark ally by legitimizing Jon and giving him Winterfell, but Jon refuses Stannis's offer out of loyalty to his father's gods, for the sake of his siblings' claims on Winterfell, and duty to the Watch.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Stark" is Swedish (among other languages) for "strong". In English, it also means severe (fitting with their outlook of life) and bare or barren, a fitting name for a family who rule over the North of Westeros.
    • Many men of House Stark have been named Bran, the Welsh word for raven. Ravens are known as "wolf birds" due to their positive relationship with wolves, which often involves sharing meals. They have even been known to play with wolf pups.
  • Modest Royalty: Compared with other great Houses, they are downright unglamorous (much to Sansa's chagrin... early on; she learns how dangerous pomp without principle can get): even Winterfell's glasshouses with their trademark blue winter roses are primarily utilitarian. The Starks tend to have an "all hands to the pump and put your backs into it" mentality with strong principles of social responsibility which most definitely don't selectively exclude themselves that other Houses (particularly Southern ones) tend to lack. If a job is unpopular, hard, uphill and/or dirty but seen as necessary for group survival, you can do far worse than throwing a knot-cutting Stark at it, but only if you leave them with room to get on with it their way.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: If the story of Bael the Bard is true, House Stark has wildling blood in it and may be extinct in the male line.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Unlike other noble Houses, they treat their subjects with compassion and respect. Ned regularly has members of his household sit with him at supper to make sure that everything is running smoothly. All the Stark children have fond memories of their servants and guards, with Bran and Arya in particular taking Ned's lessons of valuing others to heart, and forging strong relationships with the smallfolk.
  • Noble Wolf: With the intelligent, strong direwolf as their House sigil, the Starks are famously honorable and noble.
  • Not So Different:
    • Stark forces Rape, Pillage, and Burn just as much as their Lannister counterparts. Although at least the Starks do their best to punish the perpetrators whenever possible and try to keep their wars as "clean" as possible, and make an effort to reign in the excesses of bannermen like Roose Bolton, whereas the Lannisters actively encourage people like Gregor Clegane and Vargo Hoat to be as brutal and monstrous as possible in order to incite fear in their enemies.
    • Brandon, Ned, Lyanna, and Benjen are sons of first cousins (once removed) Rickard and Lyarra Stark; likewise, Cersei, Jaime, and Tyrion are sons of first cousins Tywin and Joanna Lannister.
  • Off with His Head!: The standard Stark method of execution. While brutal, it showcases their honorable nature in that (if done properly) it's about as quick and clean a death as you can hope for in a place like Westeros, preferable to hanging, burning, flaying, etcetera.
  • One Steve Limit: House Stark frequently reuses names like most feudal dynasties. Brandon is the runaway winner with at least fifteen throughout history, Benjen clinches second with five, and there are a multitude of names based around "Edd" (Eddard, Edwyle, Edwyn, Edrick, Edderion etc.). Names based on "Rick" (Rickard and Rickon) are also popular.
  • Only Child Syndrome: The current Starks are conspicuously short on cousins for such an old and important House.
    • The Karstarks are said to be a distant branch of their family tree, but closer than that, Eddard seems to have had no uncles or great uncles whose descendants Winterfell might pass to should his own family be wiped out. Their habit of sending younger brothers to the Wall may well have contributed to this over many years. The family tree in "The World of Ice and Fire" shows that many Stark relatives had a habit of dying without issue, even daughters.
    • If Eddard's elder brother had not died tragically, Ned could possibly have been married off to a House without male heirs, alleviating the lack of extended family. However, even with the death of the Stark firstborn, Ned seemed to have been going some way to remedy this with three legitimate sons and two daughters and may have gone on to have more, but this was cut short by... well, everything.
    • Catelyn mentions that Ned's grandfather's sister married a man of House Royce, leading to several distant cousins in the Vale. The same grandfather also had two cousins, Brandon and Benjen, who both had issue. We're not told what happened to them.
  • Opposites Attract: Invoked by the obvious "ice and fire" theme. House Stark shares a connection with House Targaryen that remains unfulfilled. The Starks are the ice to the Targaryen fire, and there is an implied power to be had from this union in the same degree that there's a connection between the First Men and the Valyrians. The most significant connection between the latter two races of men comes with the birth of Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, a tremendously powerful and influential individual that came from the union of House Targaryen (Vayrians) and House Blackwood (First Men). The first time the Targaryen/Stark connection came close to fruition was through the "Pact of Ice and Fire", a deal to marry a Targaryen princess with a Stark boy, which fell through due to the high casualties of the Targaryen Royal Family during the Dance of the Dragons. The other time has been the rather infamous liaison between Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark, whatever the nature of their relationship was (kidnapping or elopement) and as well the result of it,which has been speculated for years to be nothing less than Jon Snow.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Word of God confirms that the youngest generation of Starks are all wargs, capable of sharing a body with their direwolves, though only Arya, Bran, and Jon have displayed this ability on page. Sansa had the potential to skinchange with Lady, but never got the chance as she lost Lady early in the narrative.
  • Party Scattering: Foreshadowed when Rickon complains that he doesn't want anyone to leave Winterfell because he fears they'll never come back. The Starks are first split into Ned/Sansa/Arya at King's Landing, Jon/Benjen at Castle Black, and Catelyn/Robb/Bran/Rickon at Winterfell. Catelyn leaves after the murder attempt against Bran. After Ned's death, it becomes Sansa in King's Landing, Arya a fugitive in the eastern Riverlands, Robb/Catelyn at war in the western Riverlands, Benjen missing and presumed dead, while Bran/Rickon are at Winterfell and Jon is beyond the Wall. After the sacking of Winterfell, Bran goes beyond the Wall just as Jon is coming back to the Wall while Rickon is somewhere note  with Osha. Finally, after the Red Wedding during which Robb and Catelyn are murdered, Catelyn returns as an undead zombie terrorizing the Riverlands, Sansa escapes to the Vale, Arya is in Braavos, Jon has returned to Castle Black, Bran is still beyond the Wall while Rickon is still... somewhere. It's gotten to the point where none of the family members even know if any of the others are still alive.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: They're the blue to the Targaryen's red, since they perfectly fit the "ice and fire" leitmotif of the saga and also because the Targaryens are generally Hot-Blooded while the Starks have a reputation for being reserved, having icy tempers, and are, well, stark.
  • The Remnant: They become this early in the series when their most prominent members are either dead or missing, their army is scattered, their household is ruined and the family itself gets exiled by the crown, they are believed to be extinct in the male line. It is heavily implied, however, that they are on their way to some sort of comeback.
  • Rightful King Returns: The smallfolk and nobility of the North wonder if a Stark will return to Winterfell. Wyman Manderly reveals that many of their bannerman are attempting to invoke this and avenge "The Red Wedding" in the process.
  • Royalty Superpower: Although they're not in the same league as House Targaryen, the Starks have what Ned refers to as "the wolf blood" coming from their First Men heritage as Kings of the North. Those with it tend to feyness, action, doing things differently and leaving their names in song. Add the possibility of having produced more Wargs (and/or other assorted skinchangers), Greenseers and Greendreamers in the family's past than is probably known of or was recognized at the time, and this is a thing to keep in mind about House Stark.
  • Single Line of Descent: Like many other Great Houses of Westeros, the Starks are all confined to half a dozen or so members at the most, and the inheritances of their various regions are threatened because of it. It may be partially justified as all of Lord Eddard Stark's siblings were killed or took the Black before having children, though there is a distantly related branch, the Karstarks. Even without the sudden narrowing, Northern Houses as a whole do tend to be streamlined when compared to Southern ones... for good reason. The harsher the environment, the greater the chance you'll not find many cousins, or cousins of cousins, by blood. As winter is harsh, the superfluous, weak or useless get regularly trimmed so the core may live through it. One way or another.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Unlike other houses, their words are not a boast or declaration, but a warning.
    • It doubles as a Badass Boast in conjunction with their old title of Kings of Winter, implying the Starks are either grade-A asskickers that fall on their enemies like winter, or that when winter comes you'd better fall behind the Starks if you want to survive it.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The traditional Stark look has brown hair and Grey Eyes, like it was in Ned Stark's generation. However, Ned's kids have mostly taken after his wife Catelyn with their red hair and blue eyes. Jon and Arya retain the traditional appearance, but they are in minority.
  • There Can Be Only One: Subjugated the other royal families to gain absolute mastery of the North.
  • Undying Loyalty: Inspires this in most of their bannermen.
  • Winter Royal Lady: A rare male version of the trope, the Starks of old took the style of King in the North and King of Winter.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: House Stark is basically a family of traditional fantasy heroes dropped into a Medieval Crapsack World. They're known for their integrity, honor, and sense of duty. They hold themselves to a relatively high moral standard and refuse to compromise their virtues or play politics. And they genuinely love each other rather than see family members as pawns or bargaining chips. In any other fantasy setting, these would be good qualities to have. Here, they're the very things that get many of them killed.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After Winterfell is burned to the ground. Even when it is rebuilt (to an extent), by the treacherous Boltons who burned it down in the first place, it's arguably even more dangerous for a Stark to be near Winterfell.

    Lord Eddard Stark* 

Lord Eddard Stark, the Warden of the North, Hand of the King, Regent, Protector of the Realm

Ned Stark, The Quiet Wolf, The Ned

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/eddard_stark_asoiaf_calendar_5875.png
"The winters are hard but the Starks will endure. We always have."

Lord of Winterfell and head of House Stark, Eddard, better known as Ned Stark, is a man of deep integrity and honor who is devoted to those he loves. However, he is unbending in his honor, which gets him in trouble. At the beginning of the series, he is appointed Hand of the King and thrown into the nest of vipers that is the royal court.


  • A Father to His Men: Ned values his household and the people of Winterfell greatly, earning their loyalty.
  • Adult Fear: Ned dies knowing he just invited a war that would destroy his family.
  • Anxiety Dreams: He fears that Cersei's children will share the same fate as Rhaegar's children if Robert finds out the truth about them.
  • Arranged Marriage: He married Catelyn in his brother's stead in order to maintain an alliance with House Tully during Robert's Rebellion.
  • At Least I Admit It: The philosophy behind "The man who passes the sentence must swing the sword". Most Westerosi lords pass sentences without facing up to the fact that they are actually killing or executing people. Stark Kings and Stark Lords personally execute criminals as a point of honor, to show that they don't pass the buck on the messy aspects of rulership or back away from the implications of their orders. Ned invokes this principle to Robert asking him to execute Nymeria when the latter tries to wash his hands from the incident, leading Ned to execute his own daughter's direwolf instead.
  • Always Second Best: To his brother Brandon. He has a tendency to beat himself with this fact, even when he is no less a man and a lord than what his brother was.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: In a vision of a younger Ned praying once at the weirwood, he says a rather cryptic prayer about his hopes for Robb and Jon growing up close as brothers, which may mean either that they're half-brothers who should grow up loving each other like full-blooded brothers or that they aren't blood brothers at all, depending on Jon's parentage. Ned's prayer for Robb and Jon is granted because Jon and Robb do have a very close relationship as brothers.
    Young Ned: ...Let them grow up close as brothers, with only love between them, and let my lady wife find it in her heart to forgive.
  • Bad Dreams: Dreams that he will go to a frozen hell reserved for Starks after killing Lady.
  • Badass Beard: Like most northerners, Ned sports a beard.
  • Being Good Sucks: He is one of the few Honor Before Reason people in the series, and he ends up suffering for the trust he puts in people.
  • Beneath the Mask: As Bran pointed out, there are two Eddard Starks. His father and Lord Stark of Winterfell. Lord Stark comes off as cold, grim and dutiful. Ned is warm, kind and doting to his kids. More importantly, Ned carries a great deal of guilt and trauma from his early youth, possibly related to Lyanna.
  • Benevolent Boss: He makes a point to regularly dine with the Winterfell staff so he can better understand their labor and to ensure that he's not overlooking any of their needs.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Jon Snow's mother is a touchy subject for Ned.
    • Somehow related, he lashes at Catelyn for mentioning Ashara Dayne, who Catelyn wondered was Jon's mother.
    • The mention of Jorah Mormont; he's irate at both Mormont's dabbling in slavery and his fleeing the rightful justice that entailed for the crime.
    • Petyr Baelish tells Ned he's taking him to see his wife. When he realizes Baelish has led him to one of his brothels, Ned nearly kills him right there for the Stealth Insult against Catelyn. Good thing Littlefinger was telling the truth; Catelyn was just hiding out there while in the city.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: How Cersei reacts to him.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ned is a Nice Guy but he really can be as frightening as his reputation claims. Catelyn found out the hard way after asking if Ashara was the mother of his illegitimate son, Jon Snow; his reaction to her question was the one time in their marriage that he legitimately frightened her, and it's implied that this had no small part in why she dislikes Jon so much.
    "Never ask me about Jon," [Ned] said, cold as ice. "He is my blood, and that is all you need to know. And now I will learn where you heard that name, my lady."
  • Birds of a Feather: Ned and Ser Barristan Selmy quickly develop a tremendous mutual respect for each other, as they're the only two men at court who value honor.
  • BFS: Ice, his ancestral blade, is taller than an adolescent Robb.
  • Bookends: Ned's first appearance where he beheaded a deserter before three of his sons: Robb, Jon and Bran. He is beheaded with his own sword before his daughters: Sansa and Arya.
  • Break the Haughty: Learns the hard way that adhering to a strict moral code doesn't always work.
  • Broken Ace: Ned is seen as one of the great heroes of the rebellion and a model of what a noble lord should be but he's also plagued by feelings of inferiority (he believes his older brother would have been the better lord) and fears that bad things will happen to his family because of his participation in the rebellion.
  • Broken Pedestal: He experiences this to King Robert Baratheon several times in the course of the story. In the backstory, it's when Robert condones Tywin's slaughter of Rhaegar Targaryen's children, and later, Robert's indolence as a King. Ned is disappointed by Robert's continued whoring, despite his responsibilities, and more or less concurs with Robert that the latter's real merit is "better than Aerys".
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: He knew that Robert would try to appoint him Hand. He didn't expect his king to actually travel North.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: He never found a good time to tell Robert about Joffrey's paternity. When he does, he made the Tragic Mistake of telling Cersei.
  • Captain Obvious: Littlefinger taunts him for this when he led him through a secret passage to find Catelyn.
    Ned: We’re outside the castle.
    Littlefinger: You are a hard man to fool, Stark. Was it the sun that gave it away, or the sky?
  • Cincinnatus: When Jon Arryn dies, leaving the Seven Kingdoms without a Hand of the King, Robert seeks out Ned and asks that he take up the post, knowing he is best suited to rule Westeros.
    • Also, this was his role during the rebellion. Cersei even tells him it was he who won the rebellion, but never took advantage of this in any form and as soon as Robert sat on the throne, he missed the early stages of Robert's reign and went straight to Winterfell bringing baby Jon Snow and his sister's remains with him. He has never left the North since this time, save for the Greyjoy Rebellion.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: It's tough being heroic in a Crapsack World. He also fails to realize that the Hand of the King is not just an advisor but a ruler in all but name.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: His POV makes it clear that he was a man with a lot of secrets and he kept them well:
    • The events that transpired at the Tower of Joy and the promise he made to Lyanna at her deathbed;
    • The mother of Jon Snow. He is very staunch of revealing her identity to very many people, including his wife; he does tell Robert that her name was Wylla (Wylla was Jon's wet nurse, so Ned might just have said her name to get Robert off his case);
    • Eddard was fostered at the Eyrie as part of his father's "Southron ambitions". It's still not clear what his father intended with this engagement or what these ambitions consisted of;
    • He was somehow involved in the incident with the Knight of the Laughing Tree during the Tourney at Harrenhall. Meera states that she is amazed that Ned never told Bran the story;
    • He apparently had a relationship with the Dornish noblewoman Ashara Dayne; she killed herself after Ned returned the body and sword of her brother, Ser Arthur Dayne, to Starfall. He never discusses Ashara, puts a stop to rumors about her being spread at Winterfell and is not very fond of hearing anything spoken about her;
    • For obscure reasons, he didn't bring the mortal remains of his companions that stormed the Tower of Joy, nor did he return to collect these remains. Eddard made a point in burying Lyanna and Brandon at the crypts under Winterfell when only the Kings in the North and the Lords of Winterfell are supposed to be buried there. Though he argued to Bran that he did it to pay tribute to his siblings, there are undertones of ulterior motives for this decision; for example, he did not pay nearly the same respect to his fallen comrades by not even bringing their mortal remains and choosing to bury them at Dorne, and gave no reason for the slight, which made him the enemy of Barbrey Dustin, the widow of Lord Willam;
    • There are also questions regarding the nature of his friendship with Howland Reed and why the latter didn't himself swear fealty to Robb when he called the banners to rescue Ned;
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several times. Most notable when Cersei slaps him in the godswood and he answers, "I shall bear that as a badge of honor", echoing what she says when her husband beats her.
    Grand Maester Pycelle: My lord Hand, I urge you to remind this good knight that Lord Tywin Lannister is the father of our own gracious queen.
    Eddard: Thank you, Grand Maester Pycelle, I fear we may have forgotten that if you had not pointed it out.
  • Death Glare: An unintentional master of the trope. He can't really help it; that's just the way his face looks. Jaime still hasn't gotten over Ned's glare even after 17 years and still sees Ned in the eyes of every character who looks down on him.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The story begins with him as the center of everything, and his honorable personality is reminiscent of typical fantasy heroes. He dies before the end of the first book.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: As much as Ned loves his daughters, his wife, and his sister Lyanna, he does have a patriarchal view of society.
    • He feels that his sister was too "willful" and Arya is the same and this will bring problems for the latter. Even though he indulges Arya by having her train in the Braavosi manner, he sees this as a passing fancy and hobby that he doesn't take seriously, hoping that eventually Arya will outgrow it and have an Arranged Marriage like other noble women. This makes him a product of his time and place in Westerosi customs not far away from the nobility's values. However, he is being very fair for his time in allowing this.
    • For this reason, he also underestimates the threats posed by Daenerys and Cersei, which leads to very dire consequences.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Subverted. He died a traitor after being forced to plead guilty to prevent war, at which Joffrey executed him anyway. However, this ends up Double Subverted in the long run, as Ned is still very well respected outside of the Lannisters and remembered in a positive light by many of the Lannisters opponents, with many fondly recalling his rule, seeing his death not as that of a traitor but as a wrongful execution and remaining loyal to his children in his name.
  • Doting Parent: Practically spoiled his kids. In turn, his daughters tended to overwhelm him.
  • The Dutiful Son: Knows his place is always at Winterfell and he married his dead brother's fiancée to cement the alliance between the North and the Riverlands.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Killing a Night's Watch deserter while forcing his son to watch then lecturing that son on the nature of duty.
  • The Everyman: Ned is caught up in a power struggle beyond his control and is killed for not having the savvy to end it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: He eventually learns these lessons but he is executed anyway.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Beheading is pretty mundane in this series, but there is a strong overtone of Adult Fear in place when Ned is executed in front of his daughters.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: While he loves his daughter, Arya, and even appoints a tutor to teach her basic swordsmanship, Ned never sees it as more than a hobby and doesn't quite understand why Arya takes it as seriously as she does. He still expects that when she grows up she would become a Proper Lady and have an Arranged Marriage. Arya bluntly tells him, "That's not me!" and it's the only point on which she disagrees with him.
  • The Fettered: Honour, loyalty, courage, duty, friendship... all these traits are valued by Ned and he displays them frequently.
  • Flashback Nightmare: The events at the Tower of Joy, where his sister died after a hard-fought battle to reclaim her. Her memory still haunts him to this day. Also, the promise she made him give her, whatever it was, seems a major part of that haunting.
  • Fish out of Water: Country Mouse in a Decadent Court, roughly (he's not precisely rural, but he is from the Westerosi equivalent of Alaska).
  • Foil:
    • Jaime Lannister. Ned believes in doing the right thing, is honorable and is known for these qualities, but will compromise this in some instances to do the right thing — however, he’s more discreet. Jaime very publicly gets his hands dirty all the time when he does the right thing, earning him an unsavory reputation that damages his self-esteem, even though he claims he doesn't care what anyone thinks.
    • Tywin Lannister. Both of them are powerful, competent, and highly respected lords with a lot of sway in Kings Landing, but their methodologies are almost complete opposites. Eddard rules with respect and justice, Tywin rules through fear and realpolitik. Eddard leads by example, Tywin delegates. Both men value their families, but where Eddard loves all his children unconditionally, Tywin approaches paternal duties as a cold necessity. They also both place a high value on honor, but whereas for Eddard that means always doing the right thing, Tywin is more concerned with his reputation.
    • Stannis Baratheon. Both are second sons with a strong sense of duty, both helped Robert greatly during his rebellion, both rule grim and harsh areas of Westeros. Both try to clean up the corruption in the realm. However, Stannis knows that being brutal is necessary, which enables him to survive longer. Ned is liked by Robert like a brother, while Robert doesn't get on with his actual brothers and is on especially bad terms with Stannis. Ned's accomplishments in the Rebellion are admired, Stannis doesn't get appreciated for his less glamorous role. Robert names Ned as Hand instead of Stannis, a title Ned didn't want, while Stannis resented not being considered for the position for all the help he had given Robert. Both are considered traitors by the majority of the realm but are, in reality, among the most moral and principled characters in a Crapsack World.
    • Roose Bolton. Ned loves his bastard son Jon Snow, openly acknowledges him as his child, and raises Jon in his home castle as part of the family alongside his trueborn children, giving Jon a highborn upbringing. Roose, on the other hand, treats his bastard son Ramsay very poorly, leaves Ramsay to his peasant mother, and only gives her money to keep Ramsay away from his home castle, refusing to acknowledge him until he has no other choice. Both Ned and Roose strongly follow the old ways of the First Men. For Ned, that means prioritizing the well-being of his subjects; for Roose, that means raping lowborn women on the basis of archaic, outlawed traditions. They also both married a woman from the Riverlands as part of a wartime alliance and ended up happy in those marriages.
    • Cregan Stark. Like his distant descendant Ned, he's a Stark who loyally came south to serve his monarch. In his time at King's Landing, Cregan managed to succeed at everything that Ned failed — namely, ensuring a smooth succession for his ruler's heir after her death, cleaning out most of the more corrupt elements of the royal court, and ultimately returning home to Winterfell with his head still attached.
    • Rhaegar Targaryen. Like Eddard, Rhaegar was almost universally loved and their supporters are resorting to frankly insane measures to restore their children to their rightful place as rulers of the realm.
  • Forced to Watch: It's indicated that Ned always made his sons (except Rickon, who was too young at the time) watch him execute criminals to toughen them up at a certain age. From his perspective, when they become Stark lords, they would have to execute prisoners too. Two of his sons, Robb Stark and Jon Snow, do execute traitors in their ranks later on, so it certainly helped.
  • Freudian Slip: Ned is a man with secrets which he keeps well, but occasionally he lets something slip, like when he speaks with Arya about how the wolf blood took Brandon and Lyanna to an early grave. Brandon found his death by threatening Prince Rhaegar and getting killed by the Mad King, but Lyanna's case sounds weird since the accepted story of her death puts her as a Damsel in Distress rather than dying due to her wild nature. This may indicate something more about her death, but Arya doesn't notice something is off.
  • Frontline General: During Robert's Rebellion, he always led his forces from the front, and passes on the importance of this to his son Robb.
  • The Good Chancellor: He attempts to be one towards Robert.
  • Good Counterpart: Amongst the Lannisters, he may be best compared to Kevan of all people. Both are highly capable and basically decent — or at least, principled — men who are loyal to less scrupulous, more murderous lords they regard as family (Robert and Tywin, respectively, though Tywin actually is Kevan's family), generally ignoring the faults that ultimately get those men killed (ie. their whoring and their treatment of the rest of their family) because they think said men deserve to be in charge — Ned gets a twofer since he thinks his older brother Brandon would have been a better head of House Stark, just as Kevan thought that Tywin was most suited to heading House Lannister. Both men die pretty much because they followed their principles and both mens' deaths serve mainly to make Westeros more unstable; it's less direct with Ned, but both are also killed by children.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Ned's probably one of — if not the most — just and righteous characters in the entire world of Westeros, particularly amongst the nobility. He also happens to be hard, stoic and difficult to connect with for outsiders, who subsequently view him as cold and (at times) terrifying.
  • Good Parents: He's probably the only father in this setting who is not an asshole. He loves all his children, including his illegitimate son, Jon Snow, who he raises alongside his trueborn children.
  • Gray Eyes: A Stark family trait, although only Arya and Jon inherited it from him. They help emphasize his cold and stoic personality, and contribute to his rather unintentional Death Glare.
  • Hates Small Talk: Ned is quite abrupt and straight to the point.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Ned is generally viewed as a very honorable man, but people who want to speak ill of Ned will bring up that he dishonored his wife. Ned doesn't hide that he fathered a son with a woman out of wedlock (after he married Catelyn) as, according to Catelyn, he openly calls Jon his son and he went farther than most nobles, by raising and educating Jon along with Ned's other trueborn children in Winterfell.
    • As long as no one knows the truth of Joffrey's paternity, Ned will always be the traitor who tried to deny the throne to his friend Robert's son. However, many people in King's Landing believe the accusations to Cersei, and the North still loves him and is rooting for his family.
    • Until she is corrected otherwise, Daenerys thinks of Eddard as Robert the Usurper's cruel Dragon. In fact, Barristan Selmy tried to correct her otherwise, telling her that he had always been a good and honorable man who tried to stop Robert from having her killed, but Dany doesn't want to hear it.
    And with him stood the great lords her brother had named the Usurper's dogs, cold-eyed Eddard Stark with his frozen heart, and the golden Lannisters, father and son, so rich, so powerful, so treacherous.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • He and Robert were fostered together under Jon Arryn, becoming very close.
    • Howland Reed is also often recounted as Eddard's closest living friend and ally.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Happily Married to the auburn-haired Catelyn Tully. Catelyn thinks to herself how much Ned loved her hair right before she died.
  • Heroic BSoD: He goes catatonic when Lyanna dies.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation:
    • Helped overthrow a 300-year-old dynasty but doesn't feel that he deserves his roles as Lord of Winterfell or Hand.
    • On a more literal level, when Cersei notes that he should have taken the Crown for himself, he states that is one of the few things he doesn't regret at all.
    Eddard: I have made more mistakes than you can possibly imagine... but that was not one of them.
  • History Repeats: Eddard finds himself living Brandon's life; he has Brandon's title, Brandon's keep, marries Brandon's betrothed and ends up imprisoned under the Red Keep while trying to right a wrong by overstepping his boundaries just like Brandon did years before; he even gets treacherously executed like Brandon did. Both their deaths started huge wars, only that the Starks lost the second time around.
  • Honor Before Reason: His main flaw. He will do the right thing, despite the fact that his enemies all play dirty.
  • Honest Advisor: One of the few in Robert's council who honestly wants what's good for him and the realm. He doesn't hesitate to call out Robert on his behavior when he sends an assassin against the 13-year old Daenerys Targaryen.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Expected all the backroom players to back off when he proclaimed Stannis Baratheon as the true king.
  • Humiliation Conga: Ned wasn't at Bran's side when the boy was crippled, was forced to kill Sansa's pet direwolf, and was almost crippled in a fight with Jaime Lannister. He was then betrayed, imprisoned and killed along with his entire retinue. Even in death, he is in a bind — as his mortal remains disappeared without a trace on the way to Winterfell — which was razed to the ground.
  • Hurting Hero: Ned struggles with the authority given to him, first as Lord of Winterfell, and then as Hand of the King. During the latter, he is especially wary of how his high position will put his daughters in danger.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: He was a much better peacetime leader as Lord of Winterfell than Robert was as king and as Hand, he was far more involved in the running of the kingdom.
  • I Gave My Word: Ned had promised her. That was his curse. Robert would swear undying love and forget them before evenfall, but Ned Stark kept his vows.
  • I Have Your Wife:
    • Ned himself is planning on using this tactic to get the Greyjoy Fleet from Balon when he prepares for war.
    • Ned is on the receiving end of this when Varys threatens to have Sansa killed if he doesn't confess treason and get Robb and the Northern army to back off.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: He has never truly recovered from his sister's death, as his POV shows, and has kept The Promise he made to her until his last day.
  • Inspector Javert: Jorah Mormont sees Ned as merciless and not caring why he resorted to slavery. To Ned, it's Nothing Personal and Jorah is guilty twice over for fleeing instead of facing judgment like a man.
  • Keep the Reward: As surprising as it might sound, Ned did not receive any spoils from winning Robert's Rebellion; if anything, he actually lost more than he gained. He was already Lord Stark when Jon Arryn started the rebellion, he lost his beloved sister when the whole point was to rescue her, he lost several important bannermen in battle and he did not get to exact revenge upon Aerys for the deaths of his father and brother; as such, there's little wonder in the fact that he is not nearly as nostalgic about the whole affair as Robert is. When he is asked by Cersei about why he didn't claim the throne for himself, he outright tells her that he was actually glad that he didn't even have the tiniest bit of intent of sitting on that damn chair.
  • The Lancer: To Robert during the Rebellion.
  • Madness Mantra: Mild example. His POV shows how his sister Lyanna's Famous Last Words"Promise me, Ned..." — and what they represent have taken a notable root in his thoughts, mindset, and inner monologue during the fourteen years that have already passed — even causing him to awaken in a state a panic when he hears Lyanna's words whispered to him in a dream. Ned remembers Lyanna's last words to him in his POV chapters no less than seven times in A Game of Thrones.
  • Mangst: He doesn't speak of his family much, but he's apparently the first Stark to give his siblings statues in the crypts and visits frequently.
  • Master Swordsman: While we never get to see him in a full-on sword fight, he is a good enough swordsman that it's said he killed Ser Arthur Dayne, "The Sword of the Morning", in single combat.note  And Dayne, according to Jaime, could have slain six knights "with his left hand while taking a piss with the right."
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Not as obvious as some later characters, but he still feels unworthy of the position that his brother Brandon was going to inherit.
  • Morton's Fork: Whatever he'd done or for whatever reason he would have done it, it's strongly implied that the result would have been roughly the same even if he'd suddenly turned savvy. Between Varys and Littlefinger, he was going to be schemed into a losing position simply to start a civil war. And, that's without Tywin also taking a hand to outmaneuver him (if not to actually create a civil war in his case).
  • Motif: Ice. His greatsword is called Ice, Littlefinger refers to him as a man "dancing on rotten ice", is described as cold and 'frozen' in temperament, is tied to the icy and stoic North while struggling to survive in the South, and is fixed and immovable in his values and honour.
  • My Greatest Failure: His infidelity to Catelyn. Bran even has a vision of him praying to the old gods to help Catelyn forgive him.
  • Nerves of Steel: Comes with being stoic. He stays perfectly calm even when Jaime ambushes him with 5 times his number... until the Lannister soldiers start cutting down his men, which drives him to a Big "NO!".
  • Nice Guy: Although distant, Ned is amiable enough, A Father to His Men and loves his children unconditionally especially so when compared to the likes of other lords such as Roose Bolton or Tywin Lannister.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: He warned Cersei that he would reveal the secret of her children to Robert as soon as he got back, causing a chain of events that end very badly for him. Varys calls him out on this the following chapter.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He is always polite and respectful with his servants. He regularly invites one peasant to dine with him for a night to better understand the needs of his smallfolk.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: He's described as one of the nobler characters in the series, wise enough to involve himself in politics while he's surrounded by cunning enemies and dubious allies. Robert, on the other hand, is reckless, wasteful and loves a good battle. The contrast is further exemplified by their weapons of choice, with Ned favoring the sword and Robert preferring a massive warhammer for savage blows.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Warning Cersei that he found out her secret so she could take her children and leave results in his imprisonment.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: He's a composite of Richard, Duke of York, of The House of Plantagenet, and alongside Tyrion, Stannis and Theon, a Decomposite Character for the Duke of York's son Richard III.
    • Like Richard, Duke of York, His death in the early War Of The Roses as a result of Margaret d'Anjou(a Cersei inspiration) sparked the Cycle of Revenge when his sons avenged him. His body was also beheaded and submitted to a mocking Decapitation Presentation, with the Duke of York having his head outfitted with a paper crown. His young son, the young Edward IV (an inspiration for Robb Stark) marches to war to avenge his death.
    • Like Ned, Richard III, Duke of Gloucester was popular and loved by Northern England for being a fair lawgiver and defender of their homeland. Richard of Gloucester was also named by Edward IV (a Robert Baratheon inspiration) as Regent of his children and tried to prove his children as bastards. Ned was also framed as an usurper and submitted to an in-Westeros Historical Hero Upgrade by his enemies, which is believed, by some historians, to have happened to Gloucester.
  • Not So Different: Cersei pulls this card during their meeting in the Godswood. Ned concedes, though not for the same reasons. He understands that Jaime crippled Bran to hide the secret of their incest (since if discovered Joffrey, Tommen and Myrcella would be killed) and he briefly wonders if he or Catelyn would do differently if it was their child against someone else:
    If it came to that, the life of some child I did not know, against Robb and Sansa and Arya and Bran and Rickon, what would I do? Even more so, what would Catelyn do, if it were Jon’s life, against the children of her body? He did not know. He prayed he never would.
  • Number Two: Robert names him Hand of the King, which theoretically gives him the second greatest authority in the kingdom.
  • Odd Friendship: It doesn't get any stranger than grim, stoic, duty-bound Ned Stark with hard-partying, hedonistic playboy Robert Baratheon. Yet, the two were fostered together and developed a brotherly relationship during their youth. Though this trope is deconstructed when they become men grown and high lords with responsibilities and commitments to their people and the realm. Their... well, stark differences in personality lead to a considerable amount of friction when they finally meet up again, though they're still quite clearly devoted to each other underneath it all.
  • Only Sane Man: For all the flack he gets about his honor leading to disaster (In-Universe and out), it's hard not to view him as this when you compare him to the other people at Robert's court: Robert himself is a Fat Bastard drunk, Cersei is an Ax-Crazy Manipulative Bitch, Joffrey a Royal Brat as well as The Caligula (while in power), and later on, it is revealed that Littlefinger is a murderous chess master who wanted a civil war and probably realized that Eddard's death was the best way to incite it. Ned is one of the few out to do what he thinks is right for the kingdom as a whole and has no personal ambition for himself, and little for his family beyond keeping them safe. Given what later books reveal, whether he knew it or not, he was probably damned no matter what he did. He was also the only one trying to figure out who killed his predecessor Jon Arryn.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: Varys told Ned he is already a dead man for his failed coup. What's sad is that he dies a traitor instead of a martyr.
  • Papa Wolf: Not only a pun; a clear example is his anger when his daughter isn't brought before him first after Joffrey ends up mauled. It even makes him forget he's speaking to his King. Not that the King minds.
  • Parental Substitute: As he fostered Theon Greyjoy in Winterfell, he's this to him. Theon always longed for Ned's or his actual father's approval — which Theon never really gets. Ned is a deconstructed father figure as he probably meant well, but his gentle-yet-distant approach to Theon aggravated Theon's already existing daddy issues and sense of estrangement, which influence Theon's future choices and also his mental health.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Though his marriage to Catelyn was a political arrangement, they came to love each other and build probably the happiest highborn family seen in the series.
  • The Peter Principle: Ned is a brilliant Lord Paramount of the North, perfectly understanding the regional dimensions, traditions, and the unique ideas of justice that work in the North, but that doesn't quite translate into being a Hand of the King for the Seven Kingdoms, a fact which he is himself aware of and tries his best to overcome but fails:
    • In the North, where a lot of his power and authority depends on the personality and honour of the Lord, in King's Landing, a lot of the power is based on information, leverage and threats, since unlike the North where the Starks are the unquestioned masters of the land, in King's Landing he's merely first among equals, and while he understands the need for being collegiate, his unfamiliarity, distrust as well as justified paranoia prevents him from perfectly utilizing his office leading to a Golden Mean Fallacy where on the one hand he cannot trust the people within King's Landing but on the other hand his mindset is committed with traditions, which hampers him from throwing his weight around, and hire and fire people and surround himself with his own appointments which is what Tyrion does in Book 2 (Bringing in Jacelyn Bywater and Bronn into his team).
    • Ned Stark also doesn't quite get into the intricate Byzantine nature of King's Landing where one has to pretend to be nice socially while secretly plotting your colleague's death and disgrace. He assumes that despite his personal dislike with Varys, Petyr and even Cersei, he should try and find some common ground with them and work consensually, which leads him to agreeing things he didn't agree on (like financing an expensive tourney which he didn't want) without actually putting forth his own ideas, and likewise leading him out of basic decency to warn Cersei to protect her children.
    • Ironically, the one remaining legacy of Ned Stark's tenure as Hand comes from him using his office but in an accidental way. Jaime Lannister's attack on him and Jory in the streets of King's Landing, prevented Ned from personally intervening and arresting Gregor Clegane in the Riverlands, an attack that Tywin planned as an ambush hoping to bait Ned to intervene personally, capture and hold him hostage. Instead, Ned's injury leads him to charge Beric Dondarrion and other lords to intervene under the banner of King Robert Baratheon, a host that Tywin would have to attack and risk treason. This eventually leads to the formation of the Brotherhood Without Banners which is currently being led, fittingly enough, by his reanimated wife.
  • The Promise: He made promises to his sister Lyanna and keeps them until his death. What he promised is still a source of Wild Mass Guessing and Epileptic Trees
  • Punch-Clock Villain: How he is seen by guys like Jorah Mormont. He wanders The North beheading people without listening to why they did it. Ned himself never enjoys his duty but does it anyway and to him it's Nothing Personal.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Ned became a hero who overthrew a hated king but he lost almost all his family. The friend he made king never wanted the throne and seriously considered abdicating, making his and everyone who helped him feel their sacrifices were for nothing.
  • The Quiet One: In his youth, he was known as the "Quiet Wolf" among his energetic siblings.
  • Rank Up: Robert kept promoting Ned, believing he is the only one who can keep Westeros stable.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Ned is an extremely devout worshiper of the quasi-druidic Gods of the First Men and the Children of the Forest known as the Old Gods. That said he is fairly tolerant. When Catelyn, a Southron woman who follows the Faith, arrived in Winterfell, he built a sept for her, and their children were raised in both religions.
  • Retired Badass: Ned's had enough of fighting in war and clearly intends to spend his remaining years governing the North with his family. That is, until Robert showed up out of the blue, hellbent on making him the next Hand of the King.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He dies early in the series, establishing that Anyone Can Die and that the world is going to hell.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He tries to follow his own code of honor even if it goes against his king's orders.
  • Second Love: Catelyn really loved (and was originally betrothed to) his eldest brother.
  • Secret Keeper: The hidden meaning of his nickname "the Quiet Wolf." As one of the only two knights to survive the Tower of Joy, fans are still speculating about what bombshells Ned took to the grave with him in the first book.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Rebellion traumatized Ned, particularly the deaths of Rhaegar's family and Ned's sister Lyanna. Ned's recurring nightmares and flashbacks — mostly concerning Lyanna, the Tower of Joy and the Sack of King's Landing — in addition to his avoidance tendencies surrounding discussing these topics — seem to suggest he suffers from PTSD. Along with his Honor Before Reason, it has a strong influence on his decision-making, as he tries hard to avoid every possible bloodshed and subconsciously avoid having to re-experience the traumatic days that shaped him.
  • Shoot the Dog: He kills Sansa's direwolf, Lady, knowing it is more merciful than letting Cersei handle her execution.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Ned gets killed after stumbling upon a Lannister conspiracy, that has nothing to do with Jon Arryn's death.
  • Shrinking Violet: Ned was incredibly shy in his youth. At the Tourney at Harrenhal, he couldn't work up the nerve to ask the beautiful Ashara Dayne for a dance, so his older brother Brandon asked her to dance on his behalf. Even as an adult, Ned isn't particularly outgoing.
  • Spanner in the Works: Ned heats up the cold war in the capital by declaring Stannis the rightful heir instead of throwing in his lot with either Joffrey or Renly.
  • Spare to the Throne: He grew up expecting his older brother Brandon to become the next Lord of Winterfell — then both Brandon and his father were executed by Mad King Aerys. He's spent all the time since then living in his brother's shadow.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The northern mountain clans call him "The Ned".
  • The Stoic: Sometimes called "cold-hearted", Eddard is a very reserved man.
    • Meera Reed called him "The Quiet Wolf" as she told the story of the Knight of the Laughing Tree.
    • When railing against the Usurper and his dogs to his sister Daenerys, Viserys Targaryen referred to Ned as "cold-eyed Eddard Stark with his frozen heart".
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: While his family tends to find him kind and loving, others tend to find him cold and disdainful.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Towards Cersei, he feels bad for Robert's Domestic Abuse and especially for his Wrong Name Outburst of "Lyanna" on their wedding night.
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • He relinquishes his post as Hand of the King after Robert orders the assassination of Daenerys Targaryen, who is at the time a thirteen-year-old girl in the far east. After Jaime injures Eddard in retaliation to Catelyn arresting Tyrion, Robert gives Ned back his position.
    • Also in his backstory during Robert's Rebellion he had an huge argument with Robert for the gratuitous violence used against Rhaegar's family and went off to fight the Last Stand of Targaryen loyalists and find his sister. Only her could reconcile him with Robert.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Averted. Ned was on his way to lay siege to King's Landing and kill Aerys Targaryen, but the Lannisters already sacked the city through deception and Jaime unceremoniously dispatched The Mad King. It's possible that Ned's cold attitude toward Jaime is partly due to the fact that he robbed Ned of the chance to avenge the deaths of his father and brother personally. Their individual recollections of their encounter before The Iron Throne and Aerys' corpse lends some credence to this.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: The Faith of the Seven are outraged by Eddard's execution outside the Sept of Baelor (particularly since the High Septon had been promised Ned would be spared and allowed to join the Night's Watch). After his beheading, the Faith brands the execution an outrageous and unforgivable act of sacrilege that profaned the holy precincts with blood.
  • Tragic Hero: Doing the right thing the right way gets Ned killed and invites disaster to The North.
  • Turn in Your Badge: When he quit as Hand. His resignation wasn't accepted, of course.
  • Undying Loyalty: To his friends. Even when he loses faith in Robert after realizing that he had become a mean drunk who neglects his kids and his duty and sends assassins after kids, Ned still tries to save him.
  • Unexpected Successor: He did not expect to be Lord of Winterfell and still believes his brother Brandon would have been a better choice than him.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's impossible to describe the plot of the rest of the series without mentioning the fact that Ned is killed at the end of the first book.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Ned feels this way after having to kill Sansa's direwolf Lady.
  • We Can Rule Together: Both Cersei and Littlefinger make him this offer. Naturally, he refuses.
  • What You Are in the Dark: His entire conversation with Cersei. Of course, Ned remains as heroic as ever during the encounter.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Believes strongly in this and practices it to the hilt as much as possible: however, there are some hints in his P.O.V that he actually has lied a whopper for someone he loved — although, it seems to have done a number on his mental health to do so.
  • The Wise Prince: Ned is known for being a competent ruler, though not savvy in manipulation. It is this trait that ensures the North's Undying Loyalty towards him; one of his vassals explains to Bran that when Ned was in Winterfell a woman in The North could walk down the King's Road "In naught but her name-day gown" and not be molested; a far cry from what happens to the North later in the series.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: After seeing the savagery by which the Targaryen children were killed during Robert's Rebellion, Ned does not want to see history repeat itself. He protests Robert demanding Daenerys Targaryen's death, even if her claim to the throne is greater than Robert's. Unfortunately, this is one part of Ned's undoing. Robert's brother Renly offers to raise up many swords to help him arrest Cersei, Joffrey, Myrcella, and Tommen in the middle of the night, but Ned refuses to traumatize three young children like that. One of those children later has him executed.
  • You Killed My Father: Eddard's father Rickard and his brother Brandon were both executed by Aerys II Targaryen; they were shortly followed by nearly all of Brandon's noble entourage, and eventually their fathers as well, leading to Eddard, Jon Arryn and Robert raising their banners in revolt. While their rebellion is a success, he doesn't get to take direct vengeance, as Aerys was killed by Jaime Lannister during the Sack of King's Landing.
  • Younger Than They Look: His greying hair makes him appear older than his 35 years.
  • Your Cheating Heart: It only happened once and is the one blotch on his reputation and honor.
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    Lady Catelyn Stark* 

Lady Catelyn Stark (nee Tully)

Cat, Lady Stoneheart, The Silent Sister, Mother Merciless, The Hangwoman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/catelyn_stark_ffg_5760.png
Click here to see Lady Stoneheart 
"How can I do my duty when I do not know where it lies?"

Wife of Eddard Stark, originally from the House Tully and above all devoted to her father, brother, husband and children. After Jon Arryn dies, she receives a letter from her sister Lysa, Jon Arryn's widow, who blames the Lannisters for Arryn's death. While her husband joins the royal court, she stays in Winterfell in order to protect her children, but is later forced to travel south to investigate the attempt on Bran's life and advise Robb in the War of the Five Kings.

For the House Tully character page, see here.

For the Brotherhood Without Banners character page, see here.


  • Action Survivor: When an assassin tries to kill Bran, she stops the man by grabbing the blade of his knife and holding onto it, then proceeds to bite his thumb nearly off. When her group is ambushed by mountain clansmen on the way to the Vale and Tyrion distracts one of their attackers, Catelyn steps up from behind the attacker and slits his throat.
  • Adult Fear: She spends most of the series consumed by this, with her children scattered and in danger. By the time of her death, she comes to believe that they're all dead or lost to her forever. And, of course, Robb was murdered right in front of her.
  • Arranged Marriage: Originally to Eddard's older brother Brandon. By custom and necessitynote , Eddard replaced him as Catelyn's betrothed when he died.
  • Baby Factory: In one of her earliest chapters, Catelyn is hoping to get pregnant again and she's already given Ned five children, including three healthy sons at that point. This is rather notable given her heritage; all other descendants of house Whent (her mother's house) have terrible fertility problems (usually multiple miscarriages), to the point that her children and Robyn Aryn are the only known descendants in their generation.
  • Back from the Dead: She was murdered by the Freys near the end of the third book, but Beric Dondarrion revived her after the Brotherhood Without Banners found her corpse by the riverside.
  • Berserk Button: Bastard-born children, because they remind her of her husband's illegitimate son (Jon Snow) with another woman, which reminds her Ned was unfaithful and of her fears that Ned may have loved Jon's mother more than her. When she meets Mya Stone, she acknowledges that she has nothing against Mya personally, but still is put out of sorts by meeting her as she is also an illegitimate child.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: After being resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, loving and devoted Catelyn becomes a cold, hateful, vicious woman. For most of the series, she only wanted to live in peace with her family; with no one left to protect, she sets out to destroy everyone she feels is responsible her pain.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For
    • She wanted Bran not to leave for the capitol. He is crippled and temporarily comatose.
    • Catelyn gets to see Robb marry a girl he loves. It leads to the Red Wedding.
    • She wanted to be unburdened of her matronly responsibilities. She becomes Lady Stoneheart and now gets to wreak havoc on those who killed her family with impunity, not knowing some still live.
  • Buxom Is Better: While at a wedding reception as the bedding gets underway, Catelyn Stark remembers from her own bedding that Lord Willam Dustin, upon seeing her bare breasts, joked to Eddard that they were enough to make him wish he'd never been weaned.
  • Came Back Wrong: To a point. While she's ten times as vicious and vindictive as she was in life, when she is compared to other resurrected characters, the changes she has undergone probably exacerbated latent tendencies which were always inside her somewhere. Add a truly traumatizing death beyond hellish even for this series, plus a delayed resurrection... and we get Lady Stoneheart.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • She tells Robb that sending Theon to the Iron Islands is a bad idea. Robb does not listen, with disastrous results.
    • Subverted when Cat tell Robb not to trust Rolph Spicer because Robb's direwolf doesn't. Robb doesn't believe her but to make his mother happy, he sends Rolph away to make a prisoner exchange with the Lannisters. This puts Rolph in an excellent position to arrange Robb's betrayal.
    • She tries to pull Robb and the Northern Lords away from an all-out, vengeful war against the Crown by trying to advise alternative means of restitution — to no avail.
  • Cool Big Sis: She was, to Edmure and Lysa.
  • The Consigliere: To Robb.
  • Crusading Widow: It begins with Ned's death and it only goes downhill from there. Thinking all her children but Sansa have died, she has made it her purpose to destroy everything associated with the Freys and Lannisters.
    Catelyn Stark: Ned always said that the man who passes the sentence should swing the blade, though he never took any joy in the duty. But I would, oh, yes.
  • Darth Vader Clone: As Lady Stoneheart, she's a rare female example. She has vocal distortion, dresses in black and usually covers her face in a hood, has become vengeful and cold upon the death of a loved one, believes her entire family is dead and has become a Fallen Hero in the eyes of the people who remember her former self. One major difference is that while Vader serves The Empire, Catelyn/Stoneheart leads the Resistance in a distinctly darker phase.
  • Death Glare: Gives one to Merrett Frey as Lady Stoneheart, before having him hanged that terrified him more than anything else.
    But her eyes were the most terrible thing. Her eyes saw him, and they hated.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • With her treatment of her husband's illegitimate child, Jon Snow, she skirts the line of a Wicked Stepmother in the eyes of many modern readers, and she doesn't understand why Ned treats Jon as well as his trueborn children. In Westerosi society, Ned openly raising his illegitimate child (Jon) at home alongside the lawful children and closely with the oldest son is uncommon and may be seen by some as rubbing it in the wife's face (while Robb is unquestionably Ned's heir, Robb and Jon are raised and mentored in leadership together by Ned as his sons, growing up close as brothers).
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Comes very close when Bran and Rickon were killed by Theon, leading to her decision to free Jaime in desperation to at least save her daughters.
    • The Red Wedding breaks Catelyn. After her firstborn dies and she's revived, she goes over the edge.
  • Determined Widow: She powers on despite her husband's death.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Her freeing Jaime. Ignoring the dozen ways he and Brienne could have been waylaid trying to cross a war zone and how Jaime's release would affect Robb's position, the basis for the trade was Tyrion promising to release her daughters in exchange for Jaime. This promise was made at the same time as he sent men under a truce banner to murder some Riverrun guardsmen and free Jaime by force. This means Catelyn makes a very drastic decision, resulting in a significant action, based on the word of someone who had already showed he was willing to violate promises.
  • The Dreaded: As Lady Stoneheart
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way:
    • She could have either stayed silent about her husband raising his illegitimate son Jon in Winterfell, something she resented, or she could have blighted her marriage by incurring Ned's distrust and ire by pushing the issue. She shut up and let it be for 14 years until Maester Luwin tells a dispirited Ned of Jon's wish to join the Night's Watch and is able to convince him to allow it.
  • Facial Horror: She tore the skin of her own face to shreds with her fingernails after seeing Robb die.
  • Fish out of Water: A Southerner living up North. She is still baffled by many of their customs. Rather fitting, considering that her house's sigil is a fish.
  • Foil: To Cersei Lannister. They're both extremely determined women who would do anything to protect their children, but at first, Catelyn is presented much more sympathetically as a wise, protective maternal figure as opposed to a scheming bitch who will attempt to destroy anyone she even perceives as a threat to her offspring. However, they later become increasingly similar as the results of their respective actions on behalf of their children play out, particularly after Catelyn comes back from the dead and goes on a killing spree directed at anyone who ever wronged her family while she was alive or their associates.
  • Hanging Judge: Lady Stoneheart is rather fond of the noose and decorates several trees in the Riverlands with hanging corpses
  • Happily Married: As noted above, what began as an Arranged Marriage to the younger brother of her murdered fiancé ended up with her and Ned truly falling in love with each other. The one blemish on this is her suspicion that Ned still carries a torch for Jon's mother, since he raises Jon alongside his legitimate children, which is highly unusual.
  • Hey, You!: It's indicated that the one time she called Jon by name was to tell him that she wishes he'd fallen from the tower instead of Bran.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • She believes Roose Bolton is a good man for Robb to make his second-in-command, as opposed to the Greatjon. In fairness, Bolton might have stayed loyal had Cat and Robb made different choices, but as early as the first battle, Bolton was working to undermine House Stark's power by ensuring Robb's troops took the brunt of the casualties.
    • She believes that Jon (or his children) will try to steal Winterfell from her kids based on Westerosi prejudice against all illegitimate children, leading to her misjudgement of Jon, who loves and is loyal to his trueborn siblings. The thing is, the infamy linked with illegitimacy is based off of accounts of bastard-born individuals who did wrong and these are the ones who become famous. Bastard children who remain loyal and loving don't get that same attention (unless you're something spectacular such as a Dragonseed, like Addam of Hull, or a Great Bastard, like Bloodraven).
  • Hypocrite: Tells Ned he can't trust Robert on the basis of their childhood together because the years are bound to have changed him, and then tells Ned he can trust Littlefinger because she and Littlefinger grew up together.
  • I Have Many Names: Lady Stoneheart, The Silent Sister, Mother Merciless, The Hangwoman.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason Catelyn does not push the subject of Ned's illegitimate son Jon at Winterfell is because she does not want Ned to be angry with her and is aware of Ned's love for Jon. As such, she avoids bringing up this topic with Ned after Ned tells her never to ask about Jon's mother again, he wants to keep Jon at Winterfell, and she does not interfere with Jon's close relationships with the rest of the family. However, she keeps contact with Jon to a bare minimum and allows Jon to be aware of her disdain for him.
  • Ironic Echo: Invoked. When she returns as Lady Stoneheart, she takes great delight in playing "The Rains of Castamere" each and every time she executes one of the people who wronged her and her family. Doubly so when it's a Frey, as she relishes seeing the horror on their face when they hear the music under which they once revelled with wild abandon but now it's being used to herald their own deaths. She'd laugh if she could.
  • Iron Lady:
    • Catelyn is proud, strong, honorable and upright. She holds duty over desire as a governing principle of behavior, has a strong grasp of politics and possesses considerable insight into what makes Westeros run. Even Renly Baratheon acknowledges her when they meet:
      Renly: Go softly, Lord Randyll, I fear you’re overmatched.
    • She frees Jaime Lannister in order to barter for the lives of Sansa and Arya without consulting what it could mean in terms of negotiation and a firm ground. She falls from grace in Robb's eyes for doing this, effectively making them weaker by leaving them without a proper exchange coin by losing their Lannister hostage. This is in great part one of the reasons Robb loses the war, as Tywin Lannister wouldn't have risked the Red Wedding while Jaime remained captive to the Starks.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: When she becomes Lady Stoneheart, the Brotherhood starts luring, hunting and killing Freys for the mere reason of them being Freys, no matter what they did during the Red Wedding. All of them are considered guilty by default and by proxy and the only possible result is death. According to the lore, this actually the law of the land and of the seven gods. A man who betrays sacred hospitality is supposed to have his bloodline wiped out.
  • Kick the Dog: Granted that she was under a lot of stress and despairing over her son being crippled and comatose, she does tell Jon that it should have been him instead of Bran.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: A lot of Catelyn's issues with judgement calls and situational mishandling can, to a great extent, may be a result of this. She was very likely purposely kept in the dark as to what had really happened regarding her sister and how Lysa had treated Petyr, let alone the whole abortion issue and how her marriage with Jon Arryn was arranged as a result of it. This had direct impacts on Cat's later decisions and misunderstandings. Worse, her own husband not coming clean to her about who Jon's mother actually was, from the get-go, a large reason for a number of her actions regarding him. It wasn't entirely a case of willful blindness: it's hard to see when you haven't been taught what to look for.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Following her resurrection, half her hair fell out and the rest has turned white and brittle.
  • Mama Bear: Very protective and nurturing of her children and loves them above all.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: Beric Dondarrion kissed her back to life after she was hung by the Freys.
  • My Beloved Smother: Catelyn admits to herself at various points that she tried to shelter Bran. Perhaps a little much. However, free-floating guilt and depression could be influencing her assessment of herself here.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: All of the nicknames she gains after becoming Lady Stoneheart.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Convincing Ned to accept Robert's offer to become The Hand of the King (which he was planning to refuse) pretty much sets off the Trauma Conga Line her family endures for the entire series.
    • Her decision to free Jaime Lannister in the hope his brother Tyrion will honor a promise to free her daughters in exchange, an action which creates a permanent rift with the Karstarks. Additionally, she releases the one hostage that might have made Lord Tywin balk at giving his approval to the Red Wedding and, furthermore, by the time Jaime gets to Kings Landing, both of her daughters are no longer there and are missing.
    • Convincing Robb to give command of the bulk of his army to Roose Bolton, instead of the fiercely loyal Greatjon. Roose colludes with the Lannisters and systematically destroys the parts of the army loyal to Robb, leaving only his soldiers and the Karstarks, who take part in the Red Wedding.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Though she is nervous about Ned's appointment as Hand of the King in A Game of Thrones, part of the reason she wants him to go is because of the rise in social status this entails, However this is normal behaviour among Westerosi nobles.
    • Speaking of her family, while Cat is much more composed on the surface than the hot-headed Edmure or the psychotic Lysa, she isn't immune from making rash spur-of-the-moment decisions on sentiment and impulses. However, this is a trait shared by numerous characters, not just the Tullys.
  • Oblivious to Love: Cat was completely unaware that Littlefinger was smitten with her until he challenged Brandon Stark for her hand.
  • The One That Got Away: Littlefinger loved her greatly when they were young, going so far as to challenge her betrothed Brandon even though he had no chance. He lost, but he claims Cat is still the only woman he has ever loved. He felt so scorned and was left so angry that in reaction he rose in social status until he bankrupted the kingdom, plunging it into civil war resulting in the destruction of Houses Stark, Arryn and Tully.
  • Only Sane Woman: Played with. Catelyn is one of Robb's most level-headed advisers but, more often than not, her personal beliefs and desires lead her to make irrational and ill-thought actions, as well as urging on several occasions courses of action that lack any consideration of the bigger picture and focusing only on the well-being of herself and her family. Ironically, this behavior is detrimental to the cause of her House and causes considerable difficulties to the North and Riverlands' war efforts.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: By the time of the Red Wedding, she believes Arya, Bran, and Rickon are all dead (even if none of them actually are), and this belief factors into her Sanity Slippage. She finally loses it when she sees Robb killed.
  • Parental Favoritism: She loves all of her children deeply and is certainly one of the more caring parents among Westerosi nobles, but she admits Bran is her favourite child, and when it comes to her daughters, she much prefers the ladylike Sansa over the rebellious Arya.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Originally married Ned out of obligation, but they grew to love each other.
  • Proper Lady: Catelyn follows the conventions of her culture on what makes a proper lady.
  • Promotion to Parent: Her mother died giving birth to her youngest child (who also died), which prompted her to act like a mother to Edmure and Lysa and the de facto lady of Riverrun growing up. Other characters note that this had come very naturally to her, but her general fatigue at always having to be nurturing and supportive suggests it's never been as easy for her as she could make it look.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After her resurrection, she decides to hunt down all Freys and Lannisters. If you wanted to know where Arya got it from, it was from Catelyn.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shows signs of this as early as the first book, when she giggles out of relief when the Catspaw assassin set fire to the library tower instead of the one she's in, greatly disturbing Robb (although this could just as easily be the stress getting to her). But after witnessing Robb's death and coming back from the dead, her sanity seems questionable at best.
  • The Scourge of God: Lady Stoneheart is effectively a divine punishment for Walder Frey's grievous violation of guest right.
  • Settle for Sibling: Invoked. She was promised to Brandon Stark, but after the Mad King had him executed, she married his brother Eddard to unite the Stark and Tully houses.
  • Shrouded in Myth: As Lady Stoneheart. One the many rumors told about her is that she's Lord Beric Dondarrion's lover.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: The Tully motto is ''Family, Duty, Honor," and those are the words Cat lives by— even after becoming Lady Stoneheart. Jon Snow almost quotes the trope when describing her, but with a twist. He notes that instead of steel, Catelyn is iron and will break before bending.
  • Slashed Throat: One of the Freys slashes her throat at the Red Wedding. After she's resurrected as Lady Stoneheart, Catelyn is unable to speak unless she puts her hand over her throat. Even then, her speech is hard to understand.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Out of Catelyn's five children, four have inherited her Tully auburn hair and blue eyes, but Sansa is said to be the spitting image of her when she was younger (although she notes that she will grow more beautiful).
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Not so much Ned's infidelity (she grew up knowing men can be unfaithful) but his decision to openly raise his illegitimate son Jon Snow alongside his trueborn children.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Robb's crown.
  • Tragic Villain: After she's turned into an undead killer zombie hell-bent on revenge for all the wrongdoings towards her family.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: While she had no way of knowing what this action would lead to and it was understandable — given the circumstances she was in — her capture of Tyrion sets off a chain of events that end in civil war.
  • Vengeful Widow: She started out a Crusading Widow, but her resurrection post-Red Wedding has turned her into a murderous woman out only for her enemies' blood.
  • Wicked Stepmother: A rare protagonist example, and her reasons are explained in-text.
    • After the war, Ned arrives home with a baby boy who he acknowledges as his illegitimate son and openly raises him at home in Winterfell (unusual in Westerosi society). When Catelyn tries to ask Ned who the mother is, Ned refuses to discuss the matter and actually frightens Catelyn when she asks, demanding that she never ask him about Jon's mother again and only tells her that Jon is his blood — that this is all she ever needs to know. Catelyn heard rumors that there was one woman out there in the Seven Kingdoms who Ned would have preferred to wed: Ashara Dayne, and that she was Jon's mother, which — though Jon is a blameless child — has to hurt. As she observes Ned's love and fierce protectiveness of Jon, Catelyn believes that — whoever Jon's mother was — Ned must still love this woman deeply, as Catelyn could never persuade Ned to change his mind about keeping Jon close, which is what she ultimately cannot forgive. This (and the resemblance between Ned and Jon being more than her own sons she had born Ned) leads to her feelings of bitterness on the matter.
    • While Catelyn was emotionally cold and distant to Jon, she was not abusive. She never tried to turn her children against him, nor interfered in the close relationships Jon had with his half-siblings, and even Sansa — the child closest to Catelyn — gave Jon dancing lessons and taught him how to talk to girls. Compared to how some highborn ladies treat illegitimate children and how Jon nonetheless had a warm and happy childhood with his family, Catelyn's actions speak more to her credit than otherwise noted.
      George R. R. Martin: 'Mistreatment' is a loaded word. Did Catelyn beat Jon bloody? No. Did she distance herself from him? Yes. Did she verbally abuse and attack him? No. (The instance in Bran's bedroom was obviously a very special case). But I am sure she was very protective of the rights of her own children, and in that sense always drew the line sharply between bastard and trueborn where issues like seating on the high table for the king's visit were at issue.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The poor woman's essentially lost everyone that she loves: her husband was killed by The Caligula, she believes Bran, Rickon and Arya to all be dead, the Lannisters are holding Sansa hostage and forced the girl to marry Tyrion, and her last seconds of life entail her falling into madness after watching her son, Robb, be murdered right before her eyes. Now she's been resurrected as a walking corpse that "lives" only for revenge against those who betrayed and killed her family.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Catelyn's only Kick the Dog moment is when she tells Jon he should have been crippled instead of Bran. Jon, also grieved over Bran, was trying to comfort her at the time.

    Benjen Stark 

Benjen Stark

Eddard's younger brother and uncle to Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon. He is First Ranger in the Night's Watch.

See Night's Watch Rangers.

The Stark Children

    Robb Stark 

King Robb Stark, the King in the North and King of the Trident, Lord of Winterfell

The Young Wolf, The King Who Lost The North

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/robb_stark_ffg_5849.png
"I have won every battle, and yet I feel like I'm losing the war."

Eddard's oldest son and heir, fourteen turning fifteen at the beginning of the series. While young, he proves to be a bold and promising ruler when his father leaves to join the King's court. He is loyal to his father's people and shares his father's commitment to honor above all. He and Rickon are the only Stark children that do not serve as POV characters. Becomes King in the North and of the Trident after his father's death and the beginning of the War of the Five Kings.

His direwolf is Grey Wind, named for his speed and smoky grey fur.


  • Annoying Arrows: Gets wounded in his arm by an arrow while storming the Crag, which led to a minor infection which was quickly treated. He was also shot by crossbow bolts as part of his Rasputinian Death; see below.
  • Arranged Marriage: He agrees to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters in a political arrangement to secure their forces. He later breaks this arrangement to everyone's sorrow.
  • Badass Crew: In every battle, he is surrounded by a bodyguard made of the badass sons (and daughter, in Dacey's case) of his lord bannermen. It's also a deconstruction, in that having lords and heirs protecting such a high-value target means that there is always the possibility of political upheaval back home if one of them should die.
  • Beneath the Mask: There are several hints that despite his victories and legendary reputation (or perhaps because of them), Robb fears he's in way over his head and feels crushed by the weight of his responsibilities.
  • Berserk Button: Like his father, Robb is anguished over the deaths of innocents, especially children. This is clear when the Karstark men murder his two boy hostages and their guards. Robb, disgusted, does not hesitate in having all of them executed immediately. He even beheads Lord Rickard personally, despite knowing the ramifications of doing so. Talk about Unstoppable Rage.
    Robb: Lord Umber, this one was only the watcher. Hang him last, so he may watch the others die.
  • Big Brother Instinct: He's very protective of his younger siblings but unfortunately doesn't succeed in protecting any of them. When Bran and Rickon were believed to be dead after Theon's attack of Winterfell, Robb was utterly devastated. He really wanted to rescue Sansa and Arya from King's Landing, but several factors complicated his efforts. In the end, he predeceased all four of them.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the first book, his timely rescue of Riverrun saves the region from total subjugation to the Lannisters.
  • Big Good: He follows in his father's footsteps by being this, especially to the North and the Riverlands. Even after his death, his legacy lives on in the Stark loyalists who are plotting to overthrow the Boltons and avenge him.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Hits him pretty hard. He goes from heroic icon to utter failure to dead martyr.
  • Character Tics: Catelyn notes that he used to chew on his lip when he was little, like Arya does.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: He was crowned at fifteen!
  • Dead Guy on Display: After his assassination, his decapitated corpse, with Grey Wind's crowned head sewn onto it as a final insult, is paraded around by a group of Frey bannermen to show that he is really dead.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the charismatic Young Conqueror and Rebel Leader out to avenge his father, rescue his sisters and liberate his country. Despite his tactical and strategic prowess, Robb makes key political errors (sending Theon Greyjoy to Pyke, marrying Jeyne Westerling) and loses control over his bannermen. He fails to avenge his father because he followed a similar obstructive sense of honor. He doesn't save his sisters because Arya is presumed dead and Sansa's forced marriage to a Lannister makes her a political liability.
  • Didn't Think This Through: He's one of the series poster boys for this trope.
  • Doomed Protagonist: Declaring oneself King of the Trident is a de-facto declaration of war, with the Riverlands being the most disputed region in Westeros in droves. It's basically a guarantee that one would never achieve peace even in the long run; it's a fact that no ruler of the Riverlands held them for very long and it was only under the Targaryens that the region saw some amount of peace.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "The King Who Lost the North" among Roose Bolton and Rickard Karstark.
  • Fatal Flaw: The code of honor, his trust in his friend Theon Greyjoy, but mostly his youth.
  • Frontline General: Like his father, he always personally leads his men into battle, or at the very least takes the more dangerous command posts. He's quite sensible about it, however, keeping a strong bodyguard of knights which saves his life when the more reckless Jaime Lannister tries to escape an ambush by leading a charge directly at him.
  • Happily Married: To Jeyne Westerling during the third book before he's killed because of it.
  • Heir Club for Men: After learning Bran and Rickon are dead, he becomes seriously worried about dying without heirs, as Sansa is married to a Lannister (and he believes they'll kill her once they get an heir out of her, meaning she's as good as dead) and Arya is presumed dead. His will legitimized Jon, named him his heir despite Catelyn's objections, and disinherited Sansa, to protect the North from the Lannisters.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: His detractors state he had abandoned the North just to conquer a kingdom for himself in the more pleasant Riverlands. However, they are clearly in the minority, and most people are horrified by his murder.
  • History Repeats: Just like his uncle and father before him, Robb failed to rescue his sisters.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: To Jeyne, preserving her honor after they slept together.
  • Honor Before Reason: He takes after his father in this respect. He married Jeyne Westerling to protect her honour, breaking a political arrangement that cost him a large part of his forces.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Less pronounced than Sansa and Bran because he's older, but he's still quite naïve to how the world works outside the battlefield.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Catelyn often reflects on the various aspects in which Robb resembles his father. Robb himself looks at his father for inspiration, and follows his teaching. Well, given what happened to Ned, he should have been more careful in following him...
  • My Beloved Smother: Robb feels this a bit toward his mother Catelyn whenever she's haranguing him about his half-brother Jon one day attempting to wrest control of Winterfell away from him. Robb loses a little bit more of his temper every time she broaches the subject, but she only shuts up about it after Robb signs a royal decree making Jon a Stark and naming him as Robb's heir. Catelyn's fears are based on the Blackfyres, who revolted against their trueborn siblings. However, Robb argues Jon would never do this, as Jon grew up with morals instilled by their father and loves his trueborn siblings. In A Storm of Swords and A Dance with Dragons, Jon turns down the chance to inherit Winterfell multiple times.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: In-universe, he's named after King Robert Baratheon, his father's best friend.
  • Nice Guy: Like Ned, he's mostly a well-adjusted, fair person, if a bit reserved.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed:
    • To the young King Edward IV, whose marriage to Elizabeth Woodville alienated his supporter Warwick the Kingmaker to betray him. In real life, Edward IV dodged that bullet but Robb Stark pays a steep price.
    • His life as a Young Conqueror genius tactician from Grim Up North who dies as the result of betrayal may also remind one of Charles XII of Sweden.
    • He leads a rebellion against the crown, trying to secede the Northern half of the kingdom, like William Wallace (yes, the one from Braveheart). It helps that the North is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Scotland and Northern England, while the Westerlands are one to Southern England. Also, we have Tywin Lannister sharing many traits with King Edward Longshanks, while Robb shares his name with the first Scottish king Robert the Bruce. Not to mention that like Wallace Robb his betrayed by an ally and killed, letting Tywin Lannister (just like Edward Longshanks) win the war.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Is shot with a crossbow, stabbed in the heart, and decapitated, before having his direwolf's head sewn onto the corpse as a final insult. Doubles as Rasputinian Death as he gets shot by many crossbow bolts, but is still standing. It's only Roose Bolton stabbing him in the heart that finishes the job.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Decides to marry Jeyne after sleeping with her so as not to leave her Defiled Forever. Oh, Robb... that's such a sweet thought, but no.
  • Not So Different: Though they are bitter enemies, Robb Stark's arc is similar to Jaime Lannister's backstory. They are both accomplished warriors from proud and powerful families. Both found themselves in the role of a hero in a time of war, and failed to live up to the world's great expectations. Their honorable acts are overshadowed by the controversial decisions they made as young men. Both Robb and Jaime have individual monologues in which they lampshade the twisted nature of Westerosi politics and traditions, and how easy it is to lose sight of what is really right.
  • One Thing Led to Another: His first night with Jeyne was the result of hearing about his siblings' "deaths".
    Robb: She... comforted me, mother.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Word of God confirmed that all of the Stark siblings are wargs.
  • The Promise: "I will not lose." He keeps it in a literal sense, as he never loses a battle, but in the end it doesn't help him much.
  • Promotion to Parent: For Bran and Rickon, when both Eddard and Catelyn leave Winterfell. He fails, for the most part, but does a much better job with Bran than he does with Rickon.
  • Red Baron: "The Young Wolf."
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Their very first description serves to put Jon in stark contrast with Robb, who is more fiery in both appearance and personality than Jon, though they are very close as brothers.
  • Sex Equals Love: Robb believes that it does, or at least that it should. He marries Jeyne Westerling after spending one night with her, but their relationship is described as a loving one later.
  • Sex for Solace: When he storms the ancestral keep of the Westerlings, he is wounded by an arrow and soon receives news of Bran and Rickon's supposed deaths at the hands of Theon. Jeyne Westerling nursed him and ended up sleeping with him.
  • Shotgun Wedding: At his insistence, since he feels a need to make an honest woman out of her now that he has himself despoiled her. This is an Idiot Ball moment and everyone knows it: even Tyrion, who knows firsthand that Love Makes You Stupid, thinks Robb's actions were a mistake.
  • Shrouded in Myth: He becomes an instant legend thanks to his exploits. They even start to say he has magic powers.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: With Jon, who is quieter and more reserved than he is. Unlike their sisters, to whom this trope also applies, Jon and Robb are extremely close. Also counts as a Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic.
    Jon was slender where Robb was muscular, dark where Robb was fair, graceful and quick where his half brother was strong and fast.
  • Succession Crisis: Robb is well aware that should he die before siring an heir, the Northern alliance might fall apart, especially after his siblings become unsuitable. His solution is to legitimize his half-brother Jon as a Stark so that he can reign as King in the North. Needless to say, this is done over his mother's strident objections. To avoid this, he sends Galbart Glover and Maege Mormont to Greywater Watch to find Howland Reed, along with a letter naming Jon as his successor. So far, this remains a dangling plot thread.
    • Of course, Bran and Rickon are alive, and Bran is legally Robb's heir if his survival is discovered, so this may all be a moot point.
  • Supporting Leader: Robb is the one leading the "good" Stark forces despite being the only member of his family who is not a POV character besides young Rickon. His story is mostly told in Catelyn's POV chapters.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: While Robb Stark did make genuine political mistakes (sending Theon Greyjoy to Pyke, breaking his engagement to the Freys), he's also let down by impulsive, short-sighted and plainly irrational choices by the people around him. There's Catelyn Tully releasing Jaime Lannister out of captivity under grief over Bran and Rickon's supposed deaths, there's Rickard Karstark's impulsive attack on the young Lannister nephews which doesn't help anyone in any fashion except make the situation worse. Likewise, Edmure Tully taking his order to "Hold Riverrun and guard my rear" as license to wage an unnecessary battle on Tywin Lannister as he's leaving the Riverlands ruining his careful strategy in luring Tywin to certain defeat.
  • Teen Genius: A military genius who was made King in the North at 14.
  • Tragic Hero: Like his father, Robb's initial success at rallying the forces of the North is cut short after he makes a number of mistakes largely because of his code of honour.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fails to see the full extent of the impending backlash of his marriage to Jeyne. His attempts to mollify the Freys don't cut it.
  • Warrior Prince: Robb spends most of his reign as king fighting a rebellion against the Iron Throne.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Subverted. Though his father loves him and is very proud of him, it has led to Robb feeling like any failure on his part would make him unworthy of said love.
  • Wolfpack Boss: He's this to Jaime Lannister at Whispering Wood. Individually, he and each of his cadre of highborn bodyguards are no match for the Kingslayer (indeed, he ends up killing several) but together, Robb and his group repel his attempt to go Straight for the Commander and capture Jaime.
  • Young and in Charge: He is fourteen when the series begins, which causes some of his bannermen to question his position as their leader. Despite how potent Robb is in the field of battle, he is also prone to the mistakes a young boy would make in his personal affairs.

    Sansa Stark* 

Princess Sansa Stark

The little bird, Jonquil, Lady Alayne Stone

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sansa_7.jpg
"My skin has gone from porcelain, to ivory, to steel."

Eddard's oldest daughter. She is an optimistic and innocent eleven-year-old girl during the beginning of the series, originally set to become the next queen. Her main flaw is that she is very naïve, often thinking that the harsh world around her works like it does in romantic fairytales. Ouch. Needless to say, certain events change that. She seems to be becoming more savvy, cynical and manipulative, with the help of Littlefinger.

Her direwolf is Lady, the smallest and sweetest of the litter.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Few of the men Sansa gets hot and bothered over are as nice or cool as she thinks they are. She is first mentioned having a crush on Ser Waymar Royce. She absolutely adores Joffrey in the beginning and makes excuses for everything he does before he orders her father's death. Even Loras Tyrell, the one man she likes who most resembles her Knight in Shining Armor fantasy, is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who's clearly not into her.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: One of the aspects that brings her the most pain after she's sent crashing down from her idealist views is that she came to realize that no one has shown her even the slightest bit of romantic love. All affection and interest shown towards her has had an ulterior motive completely linked to her being a political pawn.
    Sansa: No one will ever marry me for love.
  • Almost Kiss: Played with. Dubbed "The Unkiss" by fans, Sansa remembers The Hound having kissed her before he left King's Landing. He later confirms to Arya that no such thing happened.
  • Alpha Bitch: At the start of the series, Sansa is the leader of the group of young Winterfell girls, Jeyne Poole and Beth Cassel, all of whom at best are aloof to and, at worst, bully the outsider Arya. Of the three, it is known that Sansa and Jeyne call Arya "Horseface" and demean her over her physical appearance and lack of ability when it comes to fitting into social norms. However, she does have a nicer side.
  • Animal Motifs: Besides the standard direwolf imagery, Sansa herself is often compared to a bird.
    • Sandor calls her "little bird" and demands a song from her. Initially, he calls her like that because she is taught to repeat her handlers' words, like a bird from the Summer Islands; mockingly, that would be a parrot. Later, the meaning changes to something less mocking.
    • She's also in the company of Littlefinger, whose personal sigil is a mockingbird.
    • By the end of A Feast for Crows, she resides in the Vale of Arryn. The sigil of House Arryn is a falcon.
  • Arranged Marriage: Her high social standing leads to a number of offers, none of which end up very well.
    • Robert proposes a marriage between her and his eldest son Joffrey, thinking there could be nothing better than joining his best friend's family with his own. It doesn't happen.
    • During A Storm of Swords, the Tyrells try to marry her to Willas, Mace Tyrell's son and heir to Highgarden, for her claim to Winterfell once all of her trueborn brothers are out of the way. Sansa feels relieved by this (despite the fact that Willas is a cripple), since it will allow her to get away from the Lannisters' grasp, but...
    • Tywin Lannister catches wind of the Tyrell's plan and marries Sansa to his dwarf son Tyrion, who ends up treating her better than the rest of the family.
    • In A Feast for Crows, Petyr tells Sansa that as soon as Cersei finds and kills Tyrion, thus freeing her from her marriage to him, she shall be wed to the heir to the Vale. Once this happens, he plans to have Sansa shed her Alayne Stone disguise and reclaim Winterfell in the Stark name, thus becoming the Lady of both the North and the East.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Most girls' first menstruation isn't as heavy or bloody as Sansa's.
  • Attempted Rape: Four times. This poor girl just can't seem to catch a break.
    • An angry mob at King's Landing attacks Joffrey and nearly drags Sansa from the horse. Sandor cuts them down and rescues her. Another noblewoman was gang-raped during this riot, so this could have been Sansa's fate had she not been rescued.
    • She fears the Hound might try to force a kiss on her when he appears in her room the night of the siege and forces her onto her bed with a knife to her throat. The reader finds out later that he was close to raping her, but her song changed his heart.
    • Joffrey threatens to do this to her during her wedding to Tyrion.
    • The drunk singer Marillion proposes to sleep with her when he sees her for the first time. She spurns him, but that doesn't quite stop him. When Lothor Brune shakes Marillion off her, she thinks he was Sandor for a moment.
  • Awful Wedded Life: She doesn't enjoy being married to Tyrion one bit. Since she has no idea that he's A Lighter Shade of Grey, she lives in constant fear of him using his Marital Rape License (though, to be fair, he did grope her on their wedding night, so that fear is very understandable). He doesn't treat her badly, but he's still a Lannister and the bad blood between their Houses isn't something that's easily set aside.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Despite Sansa seeing Arya as the Annoying Younger Sibling for most of Game of Thrones and continuing to think poorly of her in later books, even when she thinks Arya is dead, she imagines having a daughter who looks like her, along with sons who resemble her brothers. And, though she wasn't particularly close with her half-brother, Jon Snow, they miss each other when their family is separated and think of one another throughout the series — in A Feast for Crows, Sansa thinks of how wonderful it would be to see him again.
  • Bastard Understudy: After the abuse at the hands of the Lannisters, Littlefinger is educating her in the game of thrones and the lies therein.
  • Beast and Beauty: A motif most prominently seen with the hideous-looking Sandor Clegane, who is as predatory as he is protective with her. Averted with Tyrion Lannister; though recognizing Tyrion's attempts at kindness, she cannot bring herself to feel for him as she does Sandor.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: She has to abandon most of the stuff about living honestly and honorably taught to her as a Stark, if she is to survive.
  • Becoming the Mask: Following Lysa's death, she has come to think of herself as Alayne Stone, to the point of the chapter headers changing. According to George R. R. Martin, Sansa might be gone completely.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: When Joffrey shows her the heads of her father and household on spikes, Sansa actually moves to push him off the bridge they're on. She's stopped by Sandor Clegane.
  • Big Brother Worship:
    • To Robb, somewhat. She doesn't precisely play the trope straight, but she does have shades of it internally (as she has to publicly declare him a traitor in order to keep her head.) Justified as Robb's forces are her best hope of getting out of King's Landing.
      Robb will kill them all, she thought, exulting.
    • She begins to have shades of this with Jon, who she starts to identify with by taking example from him about how a highborn bastard child should behave when she assumes the identity of Petyr Baelish' bastard daughter. Additionally, she longs to see Jon again.
  • Big Brother Bully: Her side of The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry with Arya (who responds with acting the mouthy Annoying Younger Sibling part). Sansa can act snotty at times and use her Girl Posse to convey to Arya that she doesn't consider her proper sister material. Sansa and Jeyne also call her names and tease Arya about her looks, among other things.
    "Hodor!” Sansa yelled. “You ought to marry Hodor, you’re just like him, stupid and hairy and ugly!”
  • Bond Creatures: She and Lady never really did get a chance to explore their warg nature that much — but, judging from how distraught she was upon her direwolf's death, it was still very much a part of their combined make-up. Whether she can still explore the possible skinchanging side of herself is unknown at this point. It's not like she's had much chance to be around wolves, dogs or even other creatures, since. She does meet an old blind dog in A Storm of Swords though and quickly befriends him.
  • Book Dumb: She isn't good with math, but otherwise, averted as she is skilled at reading, writing, and the arts.
  • Break the Cutie: Sansa has the wrong idea about the world she lives in. Cersei Lannister and her deranged son make sure to teach her that the world is a cruel place by subjecting her to constant abuse and imprisonment.
    Sansa's thoughts: There are no heroes... In life, the monsters win.
  • Break the Haughty: She starts out thinking handsome guys are always the best, but after the Starks fall out of grace, the only people who defend her from Joffrey are the horribly scarred Sandor Clegane (who admittedly is still a bastard in the nonliteral sense) the kind but deformed Tyrion Lannister, and the fat, disgraced hedge knight-turned-jester Dontos.
  • Broken Pedestal
    • Her image of living in a medieval fantasy world crumbles when she meets people who seem to exemplify different stereotypes of that world. Her Prince Charming Joffrey is a sadist, Drunk with Power. The High Queen Cersei is manipulative and cruel. The knights who she thought are champions of justice and protectors of the weak turn out to be, at worst, Axe-Crazy thugs, or at best, morally detached men who use duty as an excuse from taking actual responsibility for the bad things they were ordered to do.
    • Her view of the Tyrells, the family she thought might save her from the Lannisters. She realizes that Loras's chivalry is all for show and that she doesn't mean anything to him. After Sansa is married off to Tyrion, and thus no longer a useful pawn, Margaery dumps her without a backward glance. Littlefinger reveals that Olenna set her up to take the blame for Joffrey's murder.
    • Sansa even becomes disillusioned by her family as The Hound tells her the atrocities being done to them was probably done by them to others so the Starks can remain supreme.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of the The Ingenue: Not only does she subvert the Disneyfied expectations of her character, but she doesn't die off like most characters like her do in Crapsack Worlds. Instead, Sansa survives through her emotional strength, and gradually learns how to manipulate and scheme to her own ends.
  • Damsel in Distress: Being constantly among enemies while she's a non-combatant, Sansa requires rescuing more than once.
  • Domestic Abuse: Poor girl is on the receiving end of this from Joffrey and his knights as petty revenge for Robb's victories. Part of her Trauma Conga Line.
  • Dye or Die: Sansa must dye her distinctive auburn locks to a generic brown to mask her identity.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: While Sansa does well in all her other lessons, she's terrible at math. Arya comments that if she marries Joffrey, he better have a good steward.
  • Fallen Princess: She begins the series having everything a person in Westeros could ask for, but it all begins crumbling beneath her when the game of thrones begins.
  • Foil:
    • According to Word of God, Sansa was initially created as foil to her sister Arya. She's a deconstruction of the Princess Classic and Arya is a deconstruction of the Tomboy Princess, but their trials have many similarities. Each have their idealist worldviews shattered, cope with various forms of abuse, are forced to flee and change their identities, and have to rely on individuals who are... less than trustworthy.
    • Lysa Tully. Both Lysa and Sansa fell in love with the wrong kind of man except Lysa never learns and becomes Littlefinger's willing pawn going so far as killing her husband Jon Arryn for his sake.
    • Cersei Lannister. She and Sansa both dreamed of becoming queen, but quickly became disenchanted with the social expectations that came with this.
    • Littlefinger. Both he and Sansa were Wide Eyed Idealists as children and had sweet, gentle natures before going through a horrendous Break the Cutie and Trauma Conga Line process, resulting in both becoming cynical and emotionally guarded.
    • The Hound. When he was younger, he had an idealistic and naïve outlook, wanting to be a great knight like Sansa wanted to be a Lady, but was quickly robbed of it by his brother. He sees these same qualities in Sansa and attempts to both enlighten and protect her, ironically functioning as the Knight in Shining Armor (albeit an offbeat one) that he claims doesn't exist.
    • Curiously, to Tyrion. Though they are on opposite physionomic spectra when it comes to beauty, gender and size, they are intertwined in their stories. They come to the bitter realization that no one will ever marry them for love. They are both rather intelligent, if naive and they have to contend against the same people in King's Landing. They end up married to each other against their will and they are currently on flight, as they are both accused of conspiring to kill Joffrey.
    • To Daenerys Targaryen. Sansa is what would have happened to Daenerys if Daenerys didn't have the mechanisms to fight back and if she weren't surrounded by prophecy. It's fair to point out that Dany greatly relied in the charity of others to survive up to the events of AGOT and these same people might be pushing these gifts for her to fulfill said prophecy. While Sansa is largely a political pawn, Dany has several people on her back trying to make her an ideological pawn. Both see themselves as dissatisfied with their aspirations once they fulfill them: Sansa has dreamt of a courtly, glamorous life; Dany was told all her life she is a natural-born leader who is meant to rule — but once they come to realize these aspirations, they both find out that the reality of their aspirations is far more crushing, dangerous and difficult than either of them could know. Both are very attractive but have found little advantage to it. Both have been separated from their families. Sansa has four brothers (Robb, Jon, Rickon and Bran) who love her while Daenerys' own brother (Viserys) uses her as a pawn and treats her poorly. In more recent events, they both are trying to shed their personae and become more pragmatic... only that Dany has dragons and hasn't used them.
  • Forced to Watch: She's made to watch at her father's execution after being told that he would be shown mercy. Later Joffrey takes her out of her rooms and makes her stare at her father's head as it rots on a spike.
  • Gilded Cage: Her position as Joffrey's future queen. She's in a beautiful castle surrounded by servants, material comforts, and guards...as a glorified hostage, betrothed to a sadistic monster who killed her father while her family is being destroyed. Oh, and the noble guards dressed in gleaming white there to protect the whole family (which technically includes her)... beat her on her royal fiancé's orders.
  • Graceful in Their Element: The very reason why Sansa survives her ordeal at King's Landing is because she is a consummate courtesan and a paragon of ladyship. A number of characters note how well Sansa handles the horrors she has to go through without losing an ounce of grace.
  • Has a Type: She wants herself a Princely Young Man very, very badly. The candidates turn out to be Jerk Jock-ish at best (with Loras' Incompatible Orientation to boot) and Joffrey at worst. Including the wannabe-rapist Marillion, any hot guy that has a business with her will be a certified Jerk Ass.
  • The Heart: She's not usually able to be in this position, but during the Blackwater when Cersei abandons the women and children stuck in the castle, Sansa calms them down and makes the whole room less afraid.
  • Hello, Nurse!: She starts the story as an eleven-year-old girl, but quickly starts growing up; everyone starts to praise her beauty and virtually every male character who can get away with it attempts to molest her (with the only exception being the who one actually has the "right" to do it, Tyrion Lannister). And the exception is an exception only because of scruples and not lack for interest. Meanwhile, Sansa herself is fantasizing about Sandor Clegane, who she has romanticized by misremembering their not so great interactions. Such as that time he forced her onto her bed with a blade at her throat.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Her father's death brings about one. She spends days locked in her chamber, not eating, only sleeping and crying. At one point she even contemplates jumping out the window to her death, but doesn't have the nerve to go through with it.
    • She freaks out when she starts menstruating, to the point where she tries to burn her mattress to hide it. What she's really afraid of is that Joffrey will try raping her as soon as he finds out.
    • The poor girl spends her time after hearing about the Red Wedding in a catatonic state.
  • Horrible Judge of Character:
    • She begins as one, thinking everyone who is highborn and pretty to be good. She's even determined to see Joffrey as Prince Charming and Cersei as The High Queen. As soon as she sees their true colours, her worldview changes and she stops being this, being able to judge people somewhat more accurately. Still, since she feels she can't pick up on who her allies are, she just starts to seclude herself from the world whenever feasible, assuming everyone wants to hurt her.
    • Her chapters in the books generally show her as a very perceptive and meticulous young lady, though she is still a diamond in raw. For example, she is one among a handful of characters to realize that there's something rather... off about Littlefinger.
  • Hyper-Awareness: As indicated by her narration, she is incredibly observant and prone to picking up the smallest details, but just doesn't know how to use this correctly until Littlefinger begins teaching her. She is also one of few characters able to provide an intimate glimpse into Littlefinger's psyche; indeed, one of the very first things she notices about him upon being introduced to him is how his eyes doesn't smile when his mouth does.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: After assuming the identity of Alayne Stone, Littlefinger's bastard daughter. Although she is still quite privileged by bastard standards as she is allowed to order servants about, she is still saddened by not being able to wear the clothes and jewels she wishes to since that would threaten her cover. Of course, it's a much better life than where she was in Kings Landing and she realizes that.
  • I Have Your Wife: Used as leverage against Ned in an effort to get him to submit to the Lannisters' bidding. Later, she is used as a hostage in King's Landing to try and make the North bend the knee.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: One of her main gripes with her being cast down from her Wide-Eyed Idealist situation is that no one has made the slightest effort to approach her with romantic intentions. In A Feast For Crows, she is already resigned to the belief that no one will marry her out of love.
  • The Ingenue: Deconstructed. Her naivety and innocence only serve to make her life hell.
  • Innocence Lost: Goes from sweet Princess Classic to Broken Bird over a couple of years. The constant abuse, lies and rape attempts she had to endure don't leave much room for her initial innocent personality. The last bit of innocence crumbles away when her own aunt tries to kill her in a crazy fit because she thinks Sansa is attempting to seduce Petyr.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Inherited her mother's blue eyes, and naively believes the world works like a fairytale. Needless to say, she subverts this trope by also being an example of Innocence Lost.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: With Lothor Brune, who once saves her from a wannabe-rapist. Later he is quick to call a nobleman who's insulted her 'the Arse', and she hugs him.
  • It's All About Me: Sansa can be amazingly self-centered in the first book, showing little empathy for Mycah and other victims of the Lannisters and leaking information to Cersei which contributed to Ned's forced confession and subsequent death. The suffering she endures throughout the rest of the series jades her, but also makes her wiser and more empathetic.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: As the series advances, Sansa comes to view the world in a cynical light, leading her to trust almost no one.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: After everything goes to hell in the first book, Sansa is kept hostage in King's Landing and other noble courts. Growing up, she'd excelled in traditionally ladylike things like people skills and needlework, which she learns to utilize while trying to keep her head.
    Joffrey frowned. Sansa felt that she ought to say something. What was it that Septa Mordane used to tell her? A lady's armor is courtesy, that was it. She donned her armor and said, "I'm sorry my lady mother took you captive, my lord."
  • Like Father, Like Son: She may look like her mother, but like Ned, Sansa is extremely idealistic and trusting. Her and her father's tendency to get swayed by their trust in the idealistic way they believe the world works bites them in the ass in A Game of Thrones and led to their imprisonment.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: She tends to fall for the exactly wrong types of men, who cannot or won't reciprocate her feelings:
  • Loose Lips: Unintentionally helped the queen's plot against Eddard, which cost him his life, and also prevented the Tyrells' plan to help her and whisk her away to Highgarden by confiding in Ser Dontos, who was really a False Friend employed by Littlefinger.
  • Loss of Identity:
    • According to Word of God, Sansa is losing her sense of identity. In A Feast for Crows, after assuming the identity of Alayne Stone, her chapters are titled "Alayne", she's called that by the narrative, and she thinks of Littlefinger as "her father".
      George R. R. Martin: Sansa may be dead as well. There's only Alayne Stone.
    • Subverted in the excerpt from Winds Of Winter, however, which suggests that she considers Sansa and Alayne two different people and sometimes habitually thinks as Sansa.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Her initial characterization has shades of this. Haughty and patronizing, she bullies her little sister, Arya, by calling her names, telling her she should have died, and belittling her appearance. But despite this, she does genuinely love her friends from Winterfell and family. From her perspective, her treatment of Arya is something she has a right to do, particularly since their primary instructor, Septa Mordane, encourages and compliments Sansa's skills while discouraging Arya's behavior. And on top of that, she is overwhelmingly innocent and can be sweet.
  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: When Cersei tells her that the best way to ensure loyalty is through fear, Sansa silently disagrees because she had always been taught that love was the surest way to gain loyalty:
    If I am ever queen, I will make [the smallfolk] love me.
  • Make a Wish: Back in A Game of Thrones, Sansa wishes that some hero would throw Janos Slynt down and cut off his ugly head. Guess what her brother Jon, now Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, does in A Dance with Dragons when Slynt disobeys Jon's orders.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She is starting to learn how to play the game via lies and manipulation through Littlefinger's very weird but obviously intelligent tutelage.
  • Meaningful Rename: If you combine the names for ''Alayne'' and ''Stone'' you get the word alone. Probably a coincidence, but with a different pronunciation, Alayne sounds a lot like allein(e), the German word for alone.
  • Misblamed: She is framed as a willing conspirator in the death of King Joffrey; turns out she was turned into a scapegoat by Olenna Tyrell.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Sansa suffers for this repeatedly. In 'A Clash of Kings', Joffrey has her beaten for Robb's successes in the war. Later in 'A Storm of Swords', when Littlefinger forces a kiss on Sansa, Lysa blames her for pursuing him and attempts to murder her.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Played with. According to most of the Lannisters and the court, this was the reason Sansa conspired to kill Joffrey. As it turns out, they're wrong, as Sansa had nothing to do with it and was framed by Olenna Tyrell to take the fall.
  • Morality Pet: Sansa is one of the few people Sandor Clegane seems to show a softer side to. Though he scares her, he also acts protective towards her and even regrets letting Joffrey rough her up for his twisted amusement.
  • Naïve Newcomer: King's Landing court is not the illustrious castle with knights in shining armor she thought it would be.
  • Named After Someone Famous: She shares her name after an ancestor.
  • Near-Rape Experience: During the Battle of the Blackwater, a very drunk Sandor Clegane comes into her room, forces her onto her bed, and holds a knife to her throat. He later admits he would have raped her, but he left after demanding a song from her. Ends with them both in tears. She is later almost raped by a bard in her aunt's employ.
  • Never My Fault: Starts off this way in the first book, especially when Joffrey terrorizes Arya and Micah while Sansa stood back and watched. When she lied to the court that Arya and Micah attacked Joffrey and not the other way around, which led to Cersei demanding a "pelt" as recompense, Sansa blames Arya alone for Cersei killing Lady as a result. However, after Ned is executed by Joffrey thanks to Sansa's Loose Lips, she grows out of this.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • While Cersei chastises her for "being perfect", Sansa is very much hurt by the mistreatment she is subjected to. In fact, Cersei's annoyance stems from the fact that Sansa is seemingly taking everything so gracefully and she lowers her guard with the girl. According to Cersei and the Lannisters, this is what led Sansa to "kill Joffrey".
    • As noted in Beware the Quiet Ones, she almost pushed Joffrey from a height but was stopped by Sandor Clegane.
  • Not So Different:
    • Her and Jon. Although they seem to be like the South and North siblings at the beginning, it's actually apparent that they have more in common than it seems. Both Jon and Sansa share many character traits with Ned, like their naive idealistic views on the world (which were both crushed when they left Winterfell) — Jon's dream of becoming a member of the Night's Watch and Sansa's dream of going to the royal court and being betrothed to a prince. Both learn the reality of things rather quickly when they get to fulfill said aspirations. Both are also notably observant.
    • Sansa and Arya as well. Both start off as two somewhat spoiled girls with naive ideas about knights and how the world works. Both become much more jaded as the series progresses when they are placed in the real world.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: According to Word of God, all the Stark children are wargs, though we haven't seen anything from Sansa yet, possibly because her direwolf, Lady, is one of the series' first casualties, and because she has little to no contact with animals after this.
  • Parental Substitute: Her cousin Robert (Sweetrobin) Arryn sees her as a mother figure, with Sansa being the only one besides his mother he responds positively to.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The moves she does make on her own usually fall into this category in a subtle form of the trope. She isn't in a position to actively fight against her enemies and abusers, so she is forced to use what seemingly benign weapons she does have (politeness, courtesy, and manners) to protect herself from abuse. She starts sharpening these skills on Joffrey out of necessity, and continues to improve.
  • The Pawn: She has been used to advance the plots of all of the people she has met by virtue of who she is and the social position she has, garnering no benefit for herself whatsoever. In King's Landing, she is even slowly losing social standing until she is cast aside as a harmless yes-girl. She does start to realize this, but she also laments the fact that no one has shown her sincere romantic affection in any way and no one has made the most minimal effort to make her happy, so she resorts to start imagining that The Hound kissed her.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Sansa spends a lot of time early on being pushed around by other characters, and she stands out as being reactive and passive while the other POVs are more proactive. Justified, though, in that she's a very sheltered preteen noble girl (so this trope is expected of her) unable to escape King's Landing like Arya. It doesn't help that most of her time in the capital is spent being physically and emotionally abused by her future in-laws.
  • Plucky Girl: She's growing into this, though not before becoming broken first.
  • Politeness Judo: One of her early lessons that come in handy even when held captive and surrounded by enemies is "courtesy is a lady's armor." She uses politeness and courteous phrases to protect herself from others.
  • Promotion to Parent: She takes care of her cousin Sweetrobin after Littlefinger sends Lysa flying through the Moon Door.
  • Proper Lady: Just like her mother, she is a great example of feminine grace and has impeccable social skills.
  • Puppet King: What the Lannisters and Tyrells mean for Sansa should they get their hands on Winterfell through her. Littlefinger now seems to be planning to make her a puppet queen, as he plans to use Sansa to unite the North, Vale, and Trident and possibly use their combined might to defeat the rest of Westeros.
  • Put on a Bus: She does not appear in the fifth book, but will return in the sixth.
  • The Resenter: Downplayed; in the first book her dialogue implies she's resentful of how indulged and adored Arya is, getting away with breaking their parents' rules, despite being horrible at traditionally ladylike things she is. In comparison, Sansa is much more celebrated in her docility, while Arya's hot-headedness is merely tolerated.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • Littlefinger seems to have transferred his unrequited affections from Catelyn to Sansa, who strongly resembles her mother.
    • She herself is replaced by Margaery Tyrell as betrothed to Joffrey, as she loses political value for the Lannisters once the Starks are out of the way.
  • Right Handed Mirror: A trait that reinforces just how her sister Arya is her polar opposite.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: She actually isn't, but often has to outwardly pretend she is. Or, at the very least, be very convincingly unbothered. It drove both Cersei and Joffrey up the wall whenever it successfully blocked their snark in public.
  • Shameful Strip: Joffrey orders her to be stripped and beaten as petty revenge for Robb's victories.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Like her sister and four brothers, Sansa has very little experience with the world outside of Winterfell until she leaves Winterfell and what she has learned of the world, she has learned from songs.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang:
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Grows into this.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Poor Sansa's looks tend to get her the wrong kind of attention from men, which in turn may also result in murderous rage from jealous women. Interestingly, it's averted in her relationship with Cersei, who seems to appreciate Sansa's beauty and never goes paranoid over the possibility of Sansa being "the younger, more beautiful queen" who would threaten her.
  • The Social Expert: Sansa has nearly perfect manners, makes everyone feel at ease around her, and prides herself on always knowing what to say. Even Tyrion notes how well she does with people; this is one of the main reasons she is able to survive her ordeal with the Lannisters:
    She is good at this, he thought, as he watched her tell Lord Gyles that his cough was sounding better, compliment Elinor Tyrell on her gown, and question Jalabhar Xho about wedding customs in the Summer Isles. [...] Without his father beside him holding him up, he note  would surely have collapsed. Yet when Sansa praised his valor and said how good it was to see him getting strong again, both Lancel and Ser Kevan beamed.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Like with Arya, she is both this and a Royal Brat. It's implied she was very sheltered growing up, and it shows. Though she is genuinely compassionate and gentle, her upbringing and immaturity at the start of the series can lead to her acting somewhat bratty and arrogant in the first book, especially towards Arya.
  • Stepford Smiler: To survive in Kings Landing after her father beheading, Sansa must smile politely and repeatedly assure everyone how much she loves Joffrey.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Played with. She's aware that there is really something wrong with Littlefinger's intentions towards her, but once in the guise of Alayne Stone, his bastard daughter under his protection, she tries very hard to ignore this and develop positive feelings towards him.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: She's supposedly the spitting image of her mother at the same age. Naturally, she resembles her aunt Lysa as well, which may be one of the reasons why Robert Arryn also views her as a mother figure and has a Precocious Crush on her.
  • Tantrum Throwing: She throws a tantrum when Ned informs her that he is sending her back to Winterfell and will end her betrothal without explaining why.
  • Team Mom:
    • After Cersei leaves the ballroom during the Battle of Blackwater, Sansa takes it upon herself to take care of the women and children left behind. She keeps them calm, leads them in song and prayer, and helps a wounded Lancel Lannister to a maester.
    • In A Feast for Crows, as she becomes the de facto Lady of the Eyrie after Lysa Arryn's death. She manages the household while Littlefinger is away and serves as Sweetrobin's primary caregiver. Subverted though, because this doesn't stop her from thinking about giving him a slap or two for getting on her nerves or unknowingly poisoning him with sweetsleep.
  • The Tease: Shows some shades of this in her The Winds of Winter preview chapter, employing her charms on Harrold Hardyng. Played with, in that she's being forced to do this by Littlefinger.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Is much better at embroidery than her tomboy sister Arya.
  • Thicker Than Water: Played with. Tyrion points out to Joffrey that Sansa's father might have been a traitor, but she still deserves to be mourning just like he should be mourning King Robert's death. Sansa halfway rebukes him by repeating that Ned was a traitor just as a mechanism for her own survival.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Joffrey is her Prince Charming who adores her and will give her beautiful babies with golden hair. She eventually grows out of it.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She plays the beautiful, princessy girly-girl part to Arya's tomboy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sansa loves lemon cakes. She even uses lemon perfume once when given the option.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In A Storm of Swords she still keeps the blood-splattered white Kingsguard cloak, which Sandor Clegane left to her before leaving King's Landing.
  • Trauma Conga Line: King's Landing was not kind to her.
  • Unreliable Narrator: She repeatedly remembers situations differently than they played out. When Joffrey abused the butcher's boy, the reader first gets the story accurately from her perspective, but later in the novel, Sansa has changed that event from Joffrey attacking Mycah to Mycah attacking Joffrey. In one of her POV chapters in A Storm of Swords, Sansa remembers Sandor kissing her the night of the siege in King's Landing, though that never happened. She actually sang a song for him.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: She and Sandor have a strange connection which has yet to be resolved.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Sooner than later, Joffrey becomes her unwanted fiancé, even though she has to keep up the pretense of loving him in order to keep her head. Later, she and Tyrion become this to each other.
  • Unwitting Pawn: When Ned Stark is captured as a traitor, Sansa has to resort to the only authority figures she has available, meaning the Royal Court and the Queen, unbeknownst that poised her father as a traitor.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Pre-character development, a little. Her standard of "how good of a person someone is" is directly tied up in "how handsome/beautiful said person is" because of how she sees life like the songs and fairy tales. This begins to lessen during the course of the novels.
  • Virgin Tension: Much is made of the fact that Sansa's maidenhead is still intact.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Due to her parents' overly sheltering her, she is too trusting at the beginning, believing Cersei wants what's best for her. Her Character Development has her grow out of this.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Had Sansa realized sooner that world wasn't like a fairytale, she would've gone through a bit less hardship. Then again, had she gone through less hardship, she wouldn't have realized that the world wasn't like a fairytale...
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: By book three, she's suffered through a Trauma Conga Line, but early in the book, Margaery and Olenna offer to marry her to Tyrell heir Willas — meaning she'd be able to get away from King's Landing and become Lady of Highgarden (one of the nicest places in Westeros), even if it is for her claim to Winterfell. It doesn't happen because when Tywin finds out, he forcibly marries her to his son Tyrion instead.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Robb believes that once the Lannisters get an heir to Winterfell out of her, they'll kill her.

    Arya Stark* 

Princess Arya Stark

Arya Horseface, Arya Underfoot, Arry, Lumpyface, Lumpyhead, Weasel, Nymeria, Nan, Squab, Salty, Cat of the Canals, Beth the Blind Girl, The ugly little girl, Mercedene, Mercy

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/arya.jpg
"Fear cuts deeper than swords."

Eddard's free-spirited, nine-year-old tomboy daughter who doesn't fit the expectations of a highborn girl at all. She identifies with her brother Jon, a fellow outsider, with who she is very close, and enjoys the company of those from lower classes, such as servants and their children. When the war breaks out, Arya plunges into the wide world as she is forced to go on the run and becomes embroiled in a surprising number of violent adventures despite her tender age.

Her direwolf is Nymeria.


  • Action Survivor: Arya survives many dangerous and violent situation throughout her story despite not being physically strong or trained in arms. From the fourth book onward, she is progressing toward being an assassin.
  • Always Someone Better: Arya was envious of Sansa's beauty and talents, which would get Sansa far in Westeros's patriarchal society. Although Arya has her own talents (such as math, knowledge of the outdoors, fighting, and horseback riding) that help her survive disguised as a commoner, they aren't skills that are valued or acknowledged in a highborn girl.
  • Animal Eye Spy: During A Storm of Swords Arya begins to warg into her lost direwolf, Nymeria, while she is asleep. When she is briefly blinded in Braavos she realizes she can see through the eyes of a cat.
  • Animal Motif:
    • The first book has her chasing cats. In Braavos, she takes up the name of Cat of the Canals because there are many cats in Braavos and an additional one wouldn't make a difference. She ends up skinchanging into one while being temporarily blind.
    • She's also described as a "she-wolf" due to her aggressive nature and the sigil of her house. She repeatedly refers to herself as a wolf in addition to warging into Nymeria.
    • While she's taken prisoner and sent to Harrenhal, she compares herself to a sheep (because of her enforced passiveness in the face of the torture, rape and murder she witnesses) and a mouse (because she's too small and unimportant to notice in the vast castle). When she decides to escape she goes back to using wolf imagery to encourage herself.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Her older brothers adore her, but Sansa, with whom she shares The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry, certainly sees her this way in the first book since Arya frequently gets away with not behaving like a noblewoman and can be a Jerkass when she's not pleased with Sansa.
  • Anti-Hero: She appears to be slowly getting darker as she takes levels in badass: she's a Pragmatic Hero in A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords, who is continually forced into situations where she must kill in order to stay alive or to escape bad situations. In A Dance With Dragons, Arya is given her first job as an assassin.
  • Arranged Marriage: Is obliged to wed Elmar Frey, due to Robb's negotiations with the Late Lord Walder. Due to her own circumstances, she never actually finds out about this. The result is a humorous scene late in A Clash of Kings where she runs into her own former fiancé, while he is moping over the rift between Starks and Freys and the loss of his "princess."
    Arya: My brothers might be dead.
    Elmar: No one cares about a serving girl's brothers.
    Arya: I hope your princess dies!
  • Attempted Rape: Multiple characters along Arya's journey threaten her with rape, including a woman.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • With Sansa. Arya admits to herself at one point in the story that she wouldn't mind playing the "princess" and dressing to fit the part if it meant that she would be with Sansa again.
    • Also with her mother, Catelyn. While Arya is on the run, she sees a positive mother figure in Lady Smallwood during A Storm of Swords and more than anything, longs to get back to her mother. When she witnesses the Red Wedding, she is devastated by the thought that her mother died and goes through several stages of grief, finally coming to accept that her mother is gone when Nymeria finds and pulls Catelyn's naked corpse out of the river. Nymeria, who is a part of Arya, also is fiercely protective of Catelyn's corpse and only runs away when humans arrive. Arya also names herself after her mother when she arrives in Braavos and roams the streets as a fish merchant. Ironically, Arya fears (rightfully in Robb's case), that her mother wouldn't ransom her back, when Catelyn actually tries everything, even freeing Jaime, to get her daughters back and reminds Robb of Arya's rights to her heritage, when Robb intends to disinherit Sansa and name Jon his heir, should he fall in battle.
  • Becoming the Mask: During Arya's journey she takes on different names and roles in order to survive. While she never loses who she is, Arya sometimes gets so deep into her new roles that she refers to them as different and independent entities. The Faceless Men try to bring this about deliberately as part of their training, in which their assassins think of themselves as "no one" and take on the personality (and face) of the person they're impersonating. Sure enough Arya starts to think of herself as Cat of the Canals, a Street Urchin in Braavos, but her 'wolf-dreams' (see Bond Creatures), her refusal to give up Needle, her usage of names that have a connection to her past note  and her execution of a Night's Watch deserter show that her original identity is still resisting.
  • Big Brother Worship: Adores her older half-brother Jon, whom she bonds with over being outsiders. To a lesser extent, Robb.
  • Black Sheep:
    • Although she is loved by her father, mother and brothers, she feels like this about her place in the Stark family and among the ladies at Winterfell due to her rebellious nature and desire to pursue unladylike pursuits. Her other siblings are comfortable in their roles or find an outlet for their skills, while Arya struggles with ladylike skills (embroidery, music, managing her appearance) and her genuine talents are overlooked or inappropriate for her position and gender (riding, sword fighting, maths, and befriending the smallfolk). On top of that, she's subject to bullying by Sansa and Jeyne. Of all her siblings, she is closest with her brother Jon, who she identifies closely with — partly because they are both the only Stark children in the current generation to inherit the Stark look and partly because, though they are both loved by their family, they do not feel like they fully fit in.
    Her father had hunted boar in the wolfswood with Robb and Jon. Once he even took Bran, but never Arya, even though she was older. Septa Mordane said boar hunting was not for ladies, and Mother only promised that when she was older she might have her own hawk. She was older now, but if she had a hawk she’d eat it.
    • Interestingly Zig-Zagged in that while Arya feels like the Black Sheep of her true-born siblings, she is the only true-born Stark of her generation to inherit the Stark look and countenance. While her trueborn siblings embody the accepted characteristics and roles expected of them in Westeros society, spanning across all history and generations they are the true black sheep of the Stark line since they inherited the Tully looks and dispositions. The irony isn't lost on Arya that a Tomboy Princess like her and Heroic Bastard like Jon are the most "Stark-like" of their siblings, yet that doesn't make them feel any less like outcasts because they're different from the current generation of House Stark.
  • Bond Creatures: Like all the Starks, she has a potential to be a warg. It's theorized that the reason she's not doing well with her Faceless Man training is because part of her is still running around Westeros, in the form of Nymeria. In the fifth book, while blind, she begins to skinchange into cats during her dreams and twice while she is awake. In short, she's heading towards being a full-blown twoskin skinchanger with a bit more practice to learn control and the opportunity to settle on a specific feline to work with. Of her siblings, only Bran shows this flexibility in skill, and although he trumps her in how flexible he is, he has had training while Arya hasn't.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Arya is a petite child with only a little training in combat, so she is easily physically outmatched by those around her. Being highborn, she is outspoken and thus has to force herself to stay quiet and calm during dangerous moments.
  • Break the Cutie: Arya's Plucky Girl nature tends to obscure the fact that she's living with a massive amount of trauma, grief and anger (enough to frighten an old wood-witch she encounters in A Storm of Swords) that's only shown through her desire to murder the people who have gotten away with various crimes.
  • Broken Bird: Poor Arya's gone from spirited tomboy to a damaged child who has learned to kill as a means of survival and has only been able to find a safe place to live among assassins.
  • Cassandra Truth: Happens twice in A Clash of Kings.
    • When traveling northward with Yoren and the Night's Watch recruits, Arya alone doesn't want to spend the night in an abandoned village because she rightly guesses that the villagers fled for a reason. Everyone dismisses her as craven, then Lannister knights come to raid the village and attack and kill most of their party, including Yoren.
    • While recouping with other surviving recruits, Arya insists on scoping out a village alone because she's quieter than the others and less likely to get caught if there are more brutal knights there. Gendry "the Bull" insists on following her, and sure enough, he gets caught. Hot Pie then insists on accompanying Arya to rescue Gendry, and then he's promptly caught and gives Arya's position away, leaving them all at the mercy of Gregor's men.
  • Changeling: At one point Sansa began to speculate Arya really was a snark or grumkin child who had swapped with the real daughter.
  • Character Tic: Chewing on her lip (like Robb when he was younger). The Faceless Men train her out of it since it's an idiosyncrasy of Arya Stark.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: She constantly refers back to Syrio's lessons throughout her ordeals, though they only sometimes help her.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The iron coin which Jaqen H'ghar gives her, which isn't just a keepsake. It secures her passage to Braavos.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The first thing Jon teaches her about sword fighting is: "Stick them with the pointy end." When it finally comes down to defending her life, she panics so much that that's the only thing she manages to remember, but it works.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Her impulsive nature and fierce sense of justice means she's quick to defend the more vulnerable and champion the smallfolk. Given this is Westeros, her efforts don't always turn out well (such as when she attacks Joffrey to protect her friend Mycah) but there are occasions when they pay off, in particular when she gets Jaqen's help for saving his life.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Getting away from King's Landing leaves her stranded in a war-torn land where people look to take advantage of her or kill her. After she gets captured by Gregor Clegane's men she begins developing a nonchalant attitude toward killing. She later enters the assassin's guild known as the "Faceless Men".
  • Color Motif: Grey. Grey is the color of her eyes, grey is the city she found some peace in, grey is what she describes herself. Grey is also of House Stark's main colors.
  • Daddy's Girl: She had a very close bond with Ned. Possibly due to her Strong Family Resemblance and general shared traits with his late sister.
  • Dance Battler: Arya's water dancing, which was in the rhythmic, dance-like Braavosi style.
  • Dead Guy Junior: She is named after her father's grandmother Arya Flint.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Action Girl: She received a few months of water dancer training with the former First Sword of Braavos and uses those skills throughout her journey. However, she can only reliably beat other children with it and has to rely on manipulation and subtlety when facing adults.
    • Kid Hero: Arya is a more subtle deconstruction of the kid hero, as she is one of the child protagonists of the series, has a high sense of justice, she takes on opponents larger and more skilled than herself, and has been able to repeatedly outsmart adults. However, the villains she wants to kill believe she is dead and are unaware of her true identity.
    • Spirited Young Lady: Even before ending up on the run, Arya struggled against the restrictions placed on her by her culture.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Has more than one kill under her belt using this approach.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir":
    • Despite being the daughter of a high lord, she dislikes being called "milady" or "my lady."
    • Due to her garb and unkempt appearance, she is initially confused with a boy and has to point out that she isn't; later, she has to get used to it by force.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: The kindly man refers to her "sad gray eyes that have seen so much".
  • Evil Mentor: You know your life's in the gutter when your only two mentors of recent memory are Sandor Clegane and a face-shifting assassin.
  • Fille Fatale: In The Winds of Winter, Arya seduces Raff The Sweetling, gets him in her room and then kills him the same way he killed Lommy.
  • Flower Motifs: Arya is fond of flowers; she collects them for her father and later counts them on their way to King's Landing.
  • Foil:
    • According to Word of God, her sister Sansa was created as her foil. Despite being as different as night and day, their quests become increasingly parallel as fallen princesses who shed their initial idealism and sense of identity in order to survive.
    • Like Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark is a highborn fallen on hard times who has lost much of her family and has spent much time living in squalor in a foreign land. Their quests also involve the supernatural and the pursuit of justice. Unlike Daenerys, though, Arya is more likely to process and review a situation or person before preemptively taking action. For example, Daenerys orders the crucifixion of 163 slavers in immediate and symbolic retribution against those among them who crucified enslaved children, without proper trials or observation of their specific involvements and willingness to change, and the political gains or drawbacks in keeping around such persons. Arya at first can't afford that kind of spontaneity while trying to survive war-torn Westeros, and is forced to keep track of her environment more strenuously, and thus pay attention to what sort of actions the likes of Sandor versus the Tickler take, both of whom were originally on her kill list, but one of whom is later removed. Honing such information-gathering skills winds up to her advantage after she reaches the Free Cities.
    • Varys. From great information-gathering abilities to mummering, Arya is becoming more like him every page, yet the two have never had an interaction together. In a way, this mirrors Sansa and Littlefinger's lessons, except Littlefinger is feeding Sansa with his teachings, Arya's teacher has been life.
      • Speaking of Varys, his monologue about the ideal leader Westeros needs could be read with Arya in mind and fits perfectly. Trained in arms, reads and writes, speaks several tongues note  has studied history note  and law note  and poetry note . She has lived with fisherfolk, worked with her hands, swum in rivers (like a fish according to Jon) and mended nets and learned to wash her own clothes at need. She can fish and cook and bind up a wound, she knows what it is like to be hungry, to be hunted, to be afraid. She understands kingship is a duty, that a king must put his people first, and live and rule for them note  Varys, however, wasn't talking about Arya, but about Aegon VI.
    • Margaery Tyrell. Cersei sends informers to spy on Margaery to get any dirt on her. What she found out was a woman who enjoyed horse-riding, hawking, talking to and befriending smallfolk, not caring about getting dirty to fit in with them, collecting things she found in nature, a sea-lover and an all-around fun person. That's exactly like Arya as Sansa described her, which makes it all the more ironic since she wanted a sister like Margaery. Margaery is what Arya could have become if her tragedy never happened to her, but also shows Sansa is a very inconsistent judge of character, because the things she disliked in Arya she adored in Margaery. Margaery is also what Arya could have become had her interests and willpower been accepted and made the most of, rather than being told she was inferior to her older sister's type of proper lady.
    • She is a foil to Myrcella Baratheon. Myrcella is every bit the child princess Arya refused to be with none of the abuse that Sansa saw. Myrcella, for the most part, was able to see herself safe precisely by abiding to her betrothed. Arya herself was betrothed to a Frey boy that she actually met, but none of them knew each other when it happened. When it came to the time, however, Myrcella was unable to avoid becoming a political pawn and got maimed for it, while Arya was able to escape being a political pawn through a great deal of suffering.
  • Free-Range Children: Deconstructed. Arya's chapters are full of graphic depictions of the hardships of being homeless in an epic fantasy world.
  • Generation Xerox: Her similarity to her aunt Lyanna in both appearance and temperament is frequently noted. A scene Bran witnesses from the past even shows Lyanna calling Benjen "stupid" when they were children, which Arya frequently calls people, and he initially mistakes Lyanna for Arya.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Arya and Sansa have a strained relationship due to their vastly different personalities and the way adults pit them against each other. This leads to Sansa bullying Arya with her friends and Arya spurning Sansa's company in favor of others.
  • Gray Eyes: Along with Jon, she is the only one of Ned's children to inherit them, which is fitting since she grows much colder and more anti-heroic than the rest of her siblings.
  • Guile Hero: Arya relies on her intelligence and cunning to survive after being forced into hiding among the common folk. It especially becomes handy after she joins up with the Faceless Men.
  • Hates Baths: While staying at a noblewoman's castle Arya is forced to bathe and wear a dress. Gendry sees her and bursts out laughing, so Arya picks a fight with him to get back to her usual messy self.
  • Heroic BSoD: After the Red Wedding, she goes into a catatonic state, even passing up the chance to murder Sandor in his sleep, which she had been trying to do repeatedly beforehand.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Miraculously averted despite it being her family's Fatal Flaw early on and all her older family members — sans Jon — falling prey to it. While Ned, Catelyn, Robb and Sansa's faith in the wrong people has catastrophic consequences for them note  Arya's survived on her instincts alone for most of the series. She dislikes the Lannisters from the get-go and is very savvy while on the run in a brutally war-torn Westeros. The few people she does choose to trust, such as Gendry, usually turn out to be good calls.
  • Hot-Blooded: Her father says she has "the wolf blood", like her aunt Lyanna. Or like Catelyn.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: She is both sad and angry at Yoren for dying because he had promised to take her home to Winterfell. She has a similar reaction in A Game of Thrones during the purge of the Stark household when she finds the dead body of the household guard Desmond, who promised her that every Northman was worth ten Southron swords, yet he and several others died while only taking one Lannister guard down with them.
  • Hyper-Awareness: She is very observant at the start of the series, but her training focuses on heightening that ability.
    • Much earlier in A Game of Thrones, she managed to not fall for a Lannister trap, when a ship supposedly to take her home was surrounded by Lannister men in Stark clothes. She just changed her way noticing this.
    • She is the only character to figure out there was something off about Roose Bolton, a mistake that cost her mother, and her brother their lives.
    • She is able to see there are good among bad too, such as she understood Shitmouth was not a cruel man, albeit him being part of the Mountain's Men, a gang known for raping, pillaging, burning.
    • In Harrenhal she was able to pick up what everyone was doing, at what place, and at what time.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the kindly man tells her she's too proud for the Loss of Identity required by a Faceless Man, Arya says she can be more humble than anyone.
  • I Call It "Vera": Needle, Jon's gift to her.
  • I Have Many Names: She takes on a number of identities to survive: Arry, an orphan boy; Weasel, servant at Harrenhal; Nymeria/Nan, cupbearer to Roose Bolton; Salty, when aboard the Titan's Daughter on her way to Braavos; Cat of the Canals, an orphan from King's Landing whose father was killed by a bravo; Beth, a blind beggar girl. As an acolyte of the Faceless Men, this number can be expected to rise dramatically.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Mycah's death is only the first of many deaths Arya would blame on herself.
  • I Miss Mom: Said directly and indirectly, it's clear that despite the constant criticism from her mother about her looks and feeling a bit like the family's Black Sheep, Arya deeply misses Catelyn.
    • When Arya and the Brotherhood without Banners arrive at Acorn Hall, she doesn't mind being treated like a child by Lady Smallwood and is unusually polite towards her, not shunning the ladylike clothes she is given and genuinely feeling sorry after tearing the dress. Arya later wonders if she could have stayed with Lady Smallwood after going back to her mother becomes impossible.
    • When Arya is asked to take a new name and wander the streets of Braavos as a merchant, she wishes to name herself "Cat", her mother's nickname.
  • I'm Not Pretty: She is surprised when people compare her to her beautiful Aunt Lyanna. Justified as she grew up being compared to her more traditionally beautiful older sister as well as consistently being referred to as "Arya Horseface" and the like. It's implied that while Sansa is the "born beautiful" type, Arya herself is more of the "growing into her beauty" type.
  • Innocence Lost: Arya went from spirited tomboy princess to disillusioned killer in the course of only a couple of years.
  • In-Series Nickname: Her family's household staff referred to her as Arya Underfoot. Sansa and Jeyne called her Arya Horseface. Sandor Clegane refers to her as she-wolf.
  • It Gets Easier: The first time she is forced to kill somebody, she's genuinely horrified. After her experience with battle, her time in Harrenhall, and the work of Jaqen H'Ghar, killing comes naturally to her.
  • It's All My Fault: Believes Sansa and Jeyne's accusations that Mycah and Lady's deaths were all her fault after the Trident incident, despite being the only person in the whole mess to try and save Mycah and going to the effort to defend Lady, even after Sansa refused to corroborate her story about what happened.
  • It's Personal: Like her mother, Arya plays this straight so hard that it's her main obstacle as a novice of the Faceless Men. She takes justice very personally, but they aren't judges; they're tools who aren't allowed to take contracts on people they know and don't care whether the victims are good or evil.
  • It Was a Gift: When the Faceless Men tell Arya she must give up all her possessions, Needle is the one gift she is unable to throw away, so she hides it instead.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: When Arya, Cat of the Canals, encounters a deserter from the Night's Watch, she leads him into a dark alley and cuts his throat, following the traditions of her culture's executions of deserters. Her trainer in the Guild of the Faceless Men is trying to break her out of this habit, telling her that their order is made up solely of executioners, and their god is judge and jury.
  • Junior Counterpart: To her late aunt Lyanna; Ned notes they share everything from appearance to personality and interests.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: She was often mistaken for being a boy. She uses this to her advantage after the second book when she travels among the commoners.
  • Left-Handed Mirror: The trait emphasizes how different she is from her sister.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: After everything goes to hell in the first book, Arya ends up roaming through the countrysides. Her rebellious instincts and rudimentary combat training end up keeping her alive.
  • Like Father, Like Son: In sharp contrast to Sansa, who looks like her mother but shares more traits with her father, Arya looks like a Stark, and while the hot-bloodedness could stem from the Stark's "wolf blood" like with her Uncle Brandon and her Aunt Lyanna, it could come from Catelyn as well. Neither of them truly accept Westerosi gender expectations of their social statuses to be passive ladies and both are passionate and devoted to their loved ones. Both Arya and Catelyn are also hell-bent on revenge and kill everyone that wronged them.
  • Little Miss Badass: Deconstructed. Though a child, Arya has been able to survive in horrific conditions and even defend herself against enemies on occasion.
  • Lonely Together: In the Riverlands, she considers proposing Gendry to become a family together; it never becomes more than a thought.
  • Loss of Identity: This is part of what she needs to accomplish to become a Faceless Man assassin. Though she continues to insist that she is no one, her refusal to give up Needle, a symbol of her connection with her family and home, and her ever-growing ability to warg, prove that her identity is still intact.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: Arya has gradually become more misanthropic with the course of the story, as she has found that every person that she seems to place her trust into meets either a tragic fate or finds his/herself led astray, making these people unable to keep their promises with Arya. Slowly, Arya is shown to be eroding from all her preconceived notions about the people she meets and the value of their lives.
  • Madness Mantra: Her mantra doesn't necessarily show insanity, but her constant repetition in her head of people she wants dead is rather unnerving for a girl who, once again, hasn't hit puberty yet.
    • Likewise her repeating the Tickler's interrogation questions while stabbing him over and over again.
      Arya: Is there gold hidden in the village? Is there silver, gems? Is there food? Where is Lord Beric? Where did he go? How many men were with him? How many knights, how many bowmen? How many, how many, how many, how many, how many, how many? IS THERE GOLD IN THE VILLAGE?
  • Magnetic Hero: Despite being the outcast among the few young girls in Winterfell for not fitting in, Arya is depicted as a popular character who develops friendships easily and with a variety of different sorts of people regardless of social status. This continues even as she takes on other identities with the Faceless Men.
    [Sansa's narration] Sansa knew all about the sorts of people Arya liked to talk to: squires and grooms and serving girls, old men and naked children, rough-spoken freeriders of uncertain birth. Arya would make friends with anybody.
  • Messy Hair: Her hair is described as always looking like "as though a bird had been nesting in it."
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Between older siblings Robb and Sansa, who easily fit into the gender norms of future Lord of Winterfell and highborn lady respectively, and youngest children Bran and Rickon, who are young enough that her mother dotes on them, tomboyish Arya always felt out of place. This is only helped by the fact that she's the only one with the classic Stark look, which is part of why she is closest to fellow misfit Jon Snow. It's suggested that this trope is the reason she acts out sometimes, especially in the first book.
  • Morality Pet: Sandor Clegane shows a softer side with her as well as with her sister Sansa. Though he's not very nice to Arya (who also hates him), he keeps her from harm and even teaches her "the gift of mercy".
  • Motifs:
    • The water motif is the most prominent element in her chapters: She loves water, fights as a 'water dancer,' "calm as still water" is a frequent refrain of hers, she repeatedly gives water to those in need, and spends most of the series either in the Riverlands or Braavos, the city of canals. Water also represents change and adaptation, which Arya does a lot and the motif mirrors her father's "Ice" motif — but while Ned couldn't adapt in the South, Arya's flexibility allows her to survive.
    • Bastards are also a common theme running through her journey. Her favourite person is her illegitimate half-brother Jon, both she and Sansa thought she was a bastard when they were younger, her closest friend while travelling is Robert's Heroic Bastard son Gendry, she later goes to Braavos known as the "bastard daughter" of Valyria and at the same time the girl everyone believes is Arya has been married off to Bastard Bastard Ramsay.
    • To a lesser extent, soil and trees. She's guided by the old gods in the Godswood, stays with the Brotherhood in the forest, refers to herself as looking like an oak tree to Gendry and the song 'the maiden of the tree' is sung in reference to her and spends much of the series surviving living in rough in the woods.
  • Naïve Newcomer: While she was never as naive or overly-trusting as Sansa, Arya was completely unaware of how cruel and cold the world could really be. She didn't understand the consequences of striking a prince (even in defense of an innocent person) or acting out in public. There are hints that she believed some of the things in songs as well (again, though not to the same extent as Sansa); for example, she initially believed in the Knight in Shining Armor ideal too and thought if she could reveal herself to Lady Whent, Lady Whent would take care of her (as opposed to assuming she was just a lying commoner).
  • Nice to the Waiter: Something her father taught her, which makes the deaths of their servants and guards hard on her.
  • Not So Different:
    • Arya and Sansa are considered as different as day and night by their father but they suffer similar ordeals. They both have had to assess friends and enemies in order to survive, have made mistakes in trusting formerly honorable knights, and are being manipulated into being pawns to be controlled by men with great authority.
    • She has some traits actually more reminiscent of Catelyn than Ned's. Mother and daughter are shown to be both more emotional and violent in their thoughts and actions than, for example, Sansa or Ned. They are both more practical and cynical about the people who surround them, which Ned and Sansa (at first) are not. Both Arya and Catelyn are strongly concerned with justice, but said justice often converges in desire of vengeance. Catelyn's new identity as Lady Stoneheart takes this Up to Eleven, as she has executed anyone she believes was involved with the Red Wedding, not unlike her daughter's revenge list of people who hurt her and her family, and they are both very unlike to forgive them, no matter what their reasons are.
  • One of the Boys: Engaged in horseback riding and swordplay with her brothers, and was closest to Jon, much to her septa's dismay.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Arya can warg into her direwolf, Nymeria, taking over her body and joining her thoughts.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: She practices swordplay and is excellent at horseback riding.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Like her father, Jon and (strangely enough) her mother, Arya has a very strong sense of right and wrong which she takes very personally. But, that doesn't mean she won't do wrong to pay wrong: oh, she will. If she can get away with it. The Faceless Men are trying to get her to shake this habit. With less-than-fantastic success. This is one Northern tradition she upholds to the hilt.
  • Plucky Girl: She is brave and persistent in achieving her goals which include becoming water dancer, reuniting with Jon, and killing those who have harmed her family and friends.
  • Princess in Rags: After she leaves the Red Keep, she's a ragged child whose most valuable possession is Needle and is forced to steal to survive.
  • Professional Killer: In training to become a member of the assassins' guild known as the Faceless Men, and first assassinates someone at the end of the fifth book.
  • Progressively Prettier: Implied, though Arya is oblivious to it. She starts the series out being called "Arya Horseface" by Sansa and Jeyne. When she's bathed and put in a dress at Acorn Hall, Gendry says she looks "nice" and Lady Smallwood calls her pretty. When she walks down the streets of Braavos, she notes that men call out to her; she doesn't realize why they're doing it, but they're mostly likely cat-calling her.
  • Replacement Goldfish: It's implied that the reason Ned indulged in her Tomboyish traits (see the appointment of a private fencing tutor), is because he wants to see his little sister Lyanna again through Arya, without reliving the memories from Robert's Rebellion. But, as described above, Ned expects her to grow out of this rebellious phase, so it's a bit downplayed.
  • The Resenter: Downplayed; in the first book she resents Sansa for being so effortlessly good at most of the skills required by their culture while Arya, despite all her efforts, can't catch up. In addition, while she is indulged by her parents, Arya's behavior is not as celebrated as Sansa's is by anyone. Even Ned tells Arya that those tendencies are what brought ruin to his siblings.
  • She-Fu: Eddard sees her Tomboyish ways and decides she should be trained in the more "elegant" Braavosi fencing style.
  • Shipper on Deck: For her parents. To the point that she outright rejects Edric Dayne's suggestion that Ned fell in love with Ashara Dayne at Harrenhal and then tries to run away from the Brotherhood because of it.
  • Ship Tease: Of the Puppy Love variety with Gendry. They grow very close while traveling together and there are hints of more romantic feelings as time goes on, particularly during their stay at Acorn Hall.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: While taking on other roles, Arya learns to utilize this trope, pretending to be meek and weaponizing her femininity to gain the advantage with her enemies. For instance, in The Winds of Winter, she takes on the role of The Ingenue with Raff The Sweetling, pretending she has been offered by her employer for his sexual use and then pulls a Chastity Dagger from her sleeve to turn him into a colander when alone in a room with him. With no witnesses. What a pity.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The complete opposite of Sansa in almost every conceivable way.
  • Snooping Little Kid: Arya overhears some important conversations through her travels (though she often fails to understand their significance), and starts snooping in earnest as part of her training with the Faceless Men.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Crosses with Royal Brat. Similarly to the rest of the Stark kids, Ned indulged her quite a bit by Westerosi standards, never punishing her for disobeying and giving her sword lessons, and she often antagonizes her older sister, though is generally a kind girl and quickly makes friends with anyone. Part of Arya's arc is the Deconstruction of her being a Rebellious Princess, where she realizes how much better she had it as a noblewoman than a commoner on the run.
  • Street Smart: Arya's resourcefulness and quick thinking enable her to survive alone in the slums of King's Landing for a time, and she later hones that ability even more during her training in Braavos.
  • Street Urchin: Again, during her time in King's Landing, she sleeps in the streets and survives by catching pigeons.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: To her aunt Lyanna, inheriting her Unkempt Beauty looks, Hot-Blooded temperament, love of horses, and skill with swords.
  • Survival Mantra: Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Fear cuts deeper than swords.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: She disguised herself as a boy more than once to keep her true identity hidden. Even after giving up the disguise, she is still often mistaken for a boy because of her short hair, male clothing, and un-girlish bearing.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Plenty of this due to her Hot-Blooded nature, but it takes on a disturbing edge after all the atrocities she witnesses. After the Red Wedding when a child her age shows Arya her soldier doll, she responds by ripping its stuffing out and throwing it in the river so it will really look like a soldier.
  • Temporary Blindness: Part of her Training from Hell with the Faceless Men is this; she's blinded for a while so her other skills can strengthen without the aid of sight. Afterwards, it's temporary deafness, and so on.
  • Tomboy: Arya isn't one for needlework or pretty dresses, instead preferring swordplay and horseback riding.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: While Sansa prefers to think of the world as a song where she is the beautiful princess destined to marry the king, Arya is a quick-thinking tomboy that would rather be learning swordplay and riding horses.
  • Tomboy Princess: Her lack of skill in and aversion toward anything ladylike give Septa Mordane and her sister endless pain, but her father doesn't seem to mind his daughter's tomboy-ish attitude, likely because it reminds him of his sister.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Arya loves flowers, wears her heart on her sleeve for much of the series, and resents that Sansa gets to sit with the "tall, handsome" prince while Arya gets stuck sitting with his chubby little brother, and is developing Silk Hiding Steel skills.
  • Training from Hell: Her instructors at the House of Black and White are benevolent enough, but the training itself is extreme. It involves being temporarily blinded to learn to manage and fight without seeing. Next in line is being made deaf, and then being crippled.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: And how! She's learned to manipulate, con, and kill, and has now joined a guild of assassins, all before reaching puberty. Justified, since she otherwise would most definitely have been killed by now.
  • True Companions: Despite their class difference, she becomes this with Gendry and Hot Pie, taking them into her "pack" and admits they're the only friends she has, even considering offering to be their family.
  • The Un-Favourite: Perceives herself to be this for Catelyn, to the point of thinking her mother wouldn't want her back — leaving her as a child refugee in war-torn Westeros — because she isn't ladylike or pretty like Sansa. From Catelyn's end, while her perspective makes it clear she does love Arya a lot, it's also obvious Arya's belief that her mother prefers Sansa is justified.
    And her lady mother, what would she say? Would she still want her back, after all the things she'd done? Arya chewed her lip and wondered. "Well, my hair's messy and my nails are dirty and my feet are all hard." Robb wouldn't care about that, probably, but her mother would. Lady Catelyn always wanted her to be like Sansa, to sing and dance and sew and mind her courtesies.

    [Catelyn's narration] Sansa was a lady at three, always so courteous and eager to please. Men would say she had my look, but she will grow into a woman far more beautiful than I ever was... And Arya, well, Arya was a trial, it must be said. Half a boy and half a wolf pup.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Dancing" and "needlework" for her less-than-ladylike sword training.
  • Waif-Fu: Deconstructed. Her father arranges for Arya to be trained in the water-dancing style well suited to her small frame and slim blade, but she still lacks the size and strength to take on adult male soldiers. Her most effective kills involve using cunning and deception to take her target unawares.
  • Wild Card: As of the second book onward, particularly after Yoren is killed, and with him dies her plan to reach Winterfell.
  • Wild Child: Arya is known for her wild spirit which Ned refers to as "wolf blood."
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: An increasingly dark example, given the hell she witnesses but she demonstrates this as early as the first book. After the Trident incident when Cersei and Joffrey have Lady and Mycah killed, Arya — all of nine years old — is the only one present who realizes how Obviously Evil the pair are and is wary of them (the fact she cares about the smallfolk and takes the death of a mere butcher's boy so seriously, while other nobles dismiss it, helps).
  • You Remind Me of X: Several characters note the resemblance between her and Lyanna, specifically her skill in horse-riding, her interest in swordplay, her fiery temper and her increasing beauty.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Sansa tells Arya that she wishes Arya had died instead of Lady.

    Bran Stark* 

Prince Brandon Stark, the Prince of Winterfell

Bran, Bran the Broken, The Winged Wolf

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ffg_bran.jpg
"A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. A greenseer."

Eddard Stark's kind and gentle eight-year-old son who dreams of being a knight and loves to climb and explore, until Jaime Lannister pushes him out a window and he becomes crippled from the fall. While in a coma, he has a dream of a three-eyed crow that gives him prophetic visions as well as magical abilities to take control of his pet wolf, Summer.


  • Action Survivor: Bran survives several violent and dangerous situations throughout his journey.
  • Addictive Magic: He spends more and more time warging into Summer and Hodor because he enjoys being able to move around freely through them. Jojen is very concerned about him doing this too much and warns that it is dangerous, but Bran does not care much since he loves how it feels to walk again.
  • Amnesia Danger: If Bran remembered why and who pushed him out the window and into a coma, he could have easily revealed the secret Ned tries to uncover for most of the first book.
  • Animal Eye Spy: His main ability allows him to see through Summer's eyes, but it also includes humans, though so far he has only used one. Although, he picks up ravens... and... um... trees.
  • Animal Motifs: He's closely associated with ravens and crows. Both birds often appear around him, he dreams of the three-eyed crow, and he learns to skinchange into ravens. Adding to the effect, "fly" is an Arc Word in his storyline and Jojen describes him as a winged wolf.
  • The Beastmaster: As of A Dance with Dragons, he directly controls one direwolf, and through his direwolf indirectly controls a pack consisting of three other wolves. He can skinchange into and control ravens. And, he can control Hodor — who is not a "beast" in the typical sense. He can also do weirwood trees... which is stretching the concept considerably further.
  • Body Snatcher: He takes over Hodor's body at times when they're in danger, since Bran is crippled and Hodor's limited mental capacity prevents him from being as effective as he could.
  • Bond Creatures: Bran and Summer are one of the most closely bonded direwolf-child pair, along with Jon and Ghost... and the closer Rickon-and-Shaggydog. After a while, Bran even prefers spending time in Summer's body, since the wolf is strong and free to explore unlike Bran.
  • Cheerful Child: Before being crippled he was sweet, happy, energetic little boy who loved exploring Winterfell.
  • Child Mage: As of A Dance With Dragons he's no older than nine, but he is an extremely powerful skinchanger and is learning to be a greenseer. Deconstructed because he lacks the maturity to understand the significance of his powers. Nor does he understand that taking over Hodor's body is traumatizing to him, and thinks it's just harmless fun.
  • Convenient Coma: Bran finds out about Jaime and Cersei's adultery, and promptly (with a little help from Jaime) goes into a prolonged coma, waking with Laser-Guided Amnesia about the whole thing. All this prevents him from telling Ned, who spends the rest of the book trying to dig up the very same secret.
  • The Cutie: Catelyn considers him her "special child" and thinks he is the sweetest one of his siblings. His behavior backs this up, as he lacks even the spoiled side some others display.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named after his late uncle.
  • Destination Defenestration: In the beginning of A Game of Thrones, he was thrown out of a tower by Jaime Lannister, whom he saw having sex with his sister. Bran went into a coma and woke up crippled for life.
  • Disability Superpower: After his fall, Bran is visited by the three-eyed crow during his coma. This propels the magical side of his story. He quickly learns to use his warg abilities after losing the use of his legs.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: His dream of becoming a knight is cut short because of his crippled legs.
  • Dreams of Flying: He often has these dreams, being a paraplegic young man.
  • Foil:
    • To his cousin Robert Arryn the Sweetrobin. Sweetrobin is what could have happened to Bran had he yielded to Theon or stayed at Winterfell. They are both young kids when they are thrown into ruling their keeps; Bran has a little grasp on it while Sweetrobin does not. Bran is physically impaired because of his fall while Sweetrobin is impaired by his feebleness. Bran is significantly more mature and resourceful than Sweetrobin and is able to avoid becoming a political token at the price of losing Winterfell. Sweetrobin is holding on for dear life to the seat of the Eyrie with multiple people expecting him to die.
    • To Tommen Baratheon, another child thrown into a position of authority. Much like what happens to Sweetrobin, Bran avoided becoming a political token like Tommen is.
  • Faking the Dead: After the fall of Winterfell at the end of the second book, Bran lets the rest of the world think Theon really did kill him, as he's far safer traveling as a dead boy rather than a living Stark.
  • Garfunkel: He's clearly being set up for something big, but in the first two books, his POV chapters primarily show what happens at Winterfell after Ned, Sansa, Arya, Jon, Robb and Catelyn leave.
  • Handicapped Badass: Though he has lost the use of his legs, Bran is an extremely powerful warg.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason he's been crippled is because he accidentally stumbled upon the queen's adultery with her own brother, who saw fit to push Bran out the window to shut his mouth.
  • History Repeats: He is the Stark at Winterfell while his elder brother Robb warred in the South during the War of the Five Kings; his uncle Benjen was the Stark at Winterfell while his older brother Eddard warred in the South during Robert's Rebellion.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: He slowly learns to handle his skinchanging ability (taking over his wolf's mind) after he is crippled.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Played with. He doesn't eat people with his own mouth, but hunts them down through his wolf (well, their undead corpses anyway) and devours them. He doesn't mind the taste.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Similar to Sansa, Bran inherited the Tully blue eyes. He starts out one of the most innocent and idealistic characters; his Break the Cutie is just a lot less drawn-out.
  • Irony: Bran wanted to be a knight, which would require him to convert to the Faith of the Seven. He instead becomes a conduit for the power of the Old Gods.
  • Kid Hero: Wanted to be a knight before he was crippled. Now he has greenseer and skinchanging powers, which may not be so harmless.
  • Meaningful Name: Brân is Welsh for raven.
  • Mister Exposition: He is the reader's main source for the history of the North due to Maester Luwin's teachings.
  • Name's the Same: His full name (Brandon) was shared by a number of his ancestors, including a couple of legendary figures in the history of Westeros and his deceased uncle. In-universe, it's not particularly notable, as it seems to be a custom of House Stark to have a Brandon every generation. The important ones tend to have epithets: Bran the Builder, Bran the Shipwright, Bran the Burner (destroyed the aforementioned fleet at anchor after his father died at sea), Bran the Daughterless... and now, at least in his own mind, Bran the Broken.
  • Nobody Poops: For a series that usually has no hesitation about detailing the less dignified aspects of life, the sanitary problems Bran's paralysis would cause have never been openly discussed.
  • Obliviously Evil:
    • As a rather young skinchanger from a culture which generally brands the skill as a myth, Bran does things with it that he considers harmless thanks both to ignorance and youthfulness. Fully-trained and socially integrated skinchangers from beyond-the-Wall with an unbroken ethical code steeped in tradition would, however, call a few of his self-taught tricks "abominable", if not downright Evil.
    • According to Melisandre's visions, Bran is the Other's champion just as Stannis is R'hllor's. Of course, the Lord of Light isn't a bucket of roses himself, and Melisandre has admitted she is prone to mistakes in interpreting visions.
    • As of A Dance With Dragons, it's still not clear what the three-eyed crow wants him for. Since he's being connected to the Weirwood Net, he can see through the past, and can speak through them, the possibilities and ramifications of his actions, being righteous or wrongful, are endless to say the least
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Bran often wargs into his direwolf, Summer. But, he's a more generalised skinchanger on top, so... not just a "werewolf". There's Hodor and the ravens and crows to consider.
  • Precocious Crush: On Meera, who is in her teens, as revealed in A Dance With Dragons.
  • Puppy Love: The aforementioned crush on Meera.
  • Put on a Bus: Along with his companions Jojen, Meera, and Hodor, he doesn't appear in A Feast for Crows. Martin said in the afterword to Feast he wrote so much that he decided to split what would have been one book into two books: A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. Feast deals mostly with King's Landing and A Dance with Dragons focuses more on the events at Castle Black, the Wall, and the other countries. He does return, showing what they have been up to beyond the Wall.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: As the Stark most consciously connected to his direwolf and the supernatural in general, Bran's dreams are bound to be glimpses of things to come, though he does not always understand their meaning.
  • The Quest: He and his Five-Man Band run to the Wall, while Bran learns to master his powers along the way.
  • Recurring Dreams: In the first two books, he always dreams of a three-eyed crow pecking him between his eyes, telling him to fly.
  • Seers: He hasn't shown the ability to see the future and it is not known if he can, but he is able see the past and present through the eyes of all the weirwoods — events that can go back for the thousands of years the weirwoods have stood.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Rodrik Cassel and Donella Hornwood in A Clash of Kings.
  • Snooping Little Kid: His habit of climbing the walls has him stumble upon a scene he shouldn't have seen. The results are traumatic.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Falling from one of the highest towers of the castle leaves him with no solid memory of what led to the fall. Though he does have a recurring image of a golden man and he gets anxious at the mention of Jaime.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Weirwood paste.
  • Waif Prophet: Though one of the youngest children, he possesses knowledge of wargs, skinchangers, prophetic dreams, and later the children of the forest.
  • Wild Child: Before Jaime paralyzed him, Bran was known for running about and climbing around Winterfell.
  • Young and in Charge: He's left in charge of Winterfell after the North rebels and Catelyn and Robb go south.

    Rickon Stark 

Prince Rickon Stark

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rickon.jpg
"I want Mother, and I want Father, and I want Shaggy!"

The youngest Stark, a spirited and energetic four-year-old boy. Over the course of the story, he grows scared and violent when his world disintegrates around him. His pet wolf, Shaggydog, is unique among the direwolves for being completely black and unusually savage.


  • Badass and Child Duo: With Osha.
  • The Berserker: He's on his way. Heck, he's not even five years old at the time, but proves himself a right nightmare handful for a group of adults to subdue... and this without having Shaggydog as external backup, either. With Shaggydog tag-teaming physically, we're talking outright fatalities — in the very definite plural.
  • Bond Creatures: Shaggydog and he share a worryingly strong bond. To the point you have to start wondering where the boy stops and the wolf starts. He's probably the closest to a traditional werewolf as the Stark wargs get. Adding to this is a hint that he can also Greendream to some extent, and well... Jon, Robb, Arya and Bran are not the only ones packing more than one set of eyes. Although, like Jon and Robb, he's probably restricted to just his direwolf when it comes to actual skinchanging — hence, "warging".
  • Child Mage: There really should be a rule about not letting kids under twelve practice skinchanging or warging unsupervised. It ain't healthy.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Becomes more friendly towards the Walders after Shaggydog attacks Little Walder.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: He doesn't express it very well, but it's clear he had a dream about Ned's death and internment. And, the way he blew up at the thought of the family splitting up, it's not hard to work out he likely had some warning about that, too. Bran may be the more varied dreamer and seer, but Rickon isn't to be dismissed, either. Particularly when it's about family. If only he had had the language tools to explain why he was upset...
  • Faking the Dead: Like Bran, he is presumed dead at Theon's hands after the fall of Winterfell.
  • Flat Character: As Rickon is three years old at the beginning of the series, he doesn't receive much characterization other than a "little boy who wants his parents back and has grown somewhat wild with his direwolf".
  • Fiery Redhead: He is the most expressive of the Stark children, boasting a rather fiery temperament along with his Tully looks.
  • Hot-Blooded: Rickon is quite temperamental and under a lot of stress — and, that's putting it mildly.
  • The Load: Not his fault; he just has the bad timing to be four years old during a blood-drenched civil war that his family is heavily involved in.
  • Named After Someone Famous: There are many Rickon Starks who came before him.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Confirmed to be a warg by Word of God. The most like a werewolf, in fact: it's strongly suggested that he and Shaggy are never entirely out of each other's skulls.
  • Out of Focus: Gets the least focus of all the Stark children.
  • Put on a Bus: He disappears from the story when Meera, Jojen and Hodor head north with Bran. Davos Seaworth is being sent to find that bus, though. A brief wolf dream of his half-brother Jon Snow warging Ghost shows Shaggydog attacking a unicorn, hinting that they are on Skagos.
  • Tagalong Kid: To Bran's group, before he and Osha split from them.
  • Wild Child: Rickon grows wild without parental guidance after the family is separated by the events in the first book when Rickon is three years old. Furthermore, Winterfell is later taken, forcing Rickon and Bran to go on the run. Shaggydog's fear and rage is a reflection on aspects of Rickon's developing personality. Considering where Rickon has been since he was Put on a Bus (see above), we can only expect this trope to develop further for him.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Rickon is effectively MIA after the sack of Winterfell. According to Wex Pyke (Theon's mute squire), Rickon and Osha might have headed to Skagos.

    Jon Snow* 

Jon Snow

Lord Eddard's fourteen-year-old illegitimate son. Like his uncle Benjen Stark and many Starks before him, Jon joins the Night's Watch and is eventually elected Lord Commander. His direwolf is Ghost, white and silent.

See Night's Watch Lord Commanders.


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